Google Adds Personalized Search Results for Flight Info, Reservations and More
(NEW YORK) -- Like it or not, the Google search field is about to get to know you and your plans a lot more intimately.
Instead of searching your Gmail or Google Calendar for your flight number or your FedEx package number, soon you'll be able to type in "What's my flight status?" or "When will my package arrive?" right into Google.com, hit Enter and get personalized answers to those questions right at the top of the search results page.
"This will help people get quick answers for things they are looking for across their own stuff," Roya Soleimani, who works with Google's search team, told ABC News. "Rather than making people be their own mini search engine, they are able to search in one search box -- rather than dig through their email or calendar."
At first, the service will work for flight and hotel reservations and purchases. By scanning your inbox, Google will be able to answer "When will my Amazon order arrive?" or "What is the address of the hotel I am staying at in California?" It will also have answers to questions you ask about your calendar, for example, "What are my plans for tomorrow?" or "When is my meeting with the pope?"
Users can type the question into a browser, or they can ask aloud using Google's voice search functionality in a browser or the Android and iOS apps. When the results appear, Google will specify whether they are from your Gmail or your Google Calendar. The service will work only if you are signed in to your Google account in a web browser in Google's app.
It works a lot like Google Now, Google's personal assistant, but instead of Google feeding you the information before you need it, you will be able to ask for what you want. "This is very similar to the things you get in Google Now, but with Now you get many of these things without having to ask. With this you have to ask for this ahead of time," Solemiani said.
The new feature is all part of Google's vision of making computers smarter. Google's head of search Amit Singhal has said numerous times that Google is looking to build a Star Trek-type computer for everyone -- one that knows what you want and understands you perfectly when you speak to it.
The new search features began rolling out Wednesday in the United States, and will take two to three days to reach all U.S. users. If users are worried about privacy or simply aren't interested in using the feature, they can disable it in the Google settings menu.
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