Google finally announced the official launch of Google Drive today, after years of anticipation. What do you suppose the chances are that Google will integrate your stored files into search results when relevant? We asked Google if they have such plans. "We have nothing to announce at this time," a Google spokesperson tells us.
Not exactly a no.
Think about how much Google already does to personalize your search results. The launch of Search Plus Your World, earlier this year, is a bold example of this. Google bases relevancy, to some extent, on your personal connections with others. Why not your personal collection of files? What's more personal than that?
Google is giving users 5 GB of free storage, and even more if you're willing to pay (25 GB for $2.49 per month, 100 GB for $4.99 per month and 1 TB for $49.99 per month ). You can store a lot of files for 1TB. A lot of documents (it's tied to Google Docs). Google wants to organize the world's information, and it clearly wants to personalize the user's experience in ways that are relevant to them, so I can't see why Google wouldn't integrate this into search in one way or another. Likewise for Google Music.
That's really the question. Can they? They were confident enough in Search Plus Your World as getting social search right. But there have been plenty of complaints regarding its impact on relevancy. I can see adding one's personal files into the mix in such a way as sparking similar criticism.
How well it would be received, would probably be based in large part on how it was implemented. I have to wonder: if Google had launched its personalized Search Plus Your World results more in a Wajam-like fashion, where they're not as intrusive into the regular search experience, would people have been so critical?
There's another personalized search application called Greplin, which kind of does the kind of thing we're talking about here. It will let you search through Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Google Docs and various other services. I can see Google offering something similar based on its own products in which people have files, documents, or conversations in which they may wish to find.
This is all speculative, of course. It's a what if scenario at this point. But, what if? Would you find such a service useful or would it just get in the way? Maybe we'll see one day soon, or maybe it will never happen. What do you think? Wouldn't that truly be Search Plus YOUR World?
Google does emphasize Google Drive's search as one of its key features. Here's what Google's announcement says about that:
Search everything. Search by keyword and filter by file type, owner and more. Drive can even recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Let’s say you upload a scanned image of an old newspaper clipping. You can search for a word from the text of the actual article. We also use image recognition so that if you drag and drop photos from your Grand Canyon trip into Drive, you can later search for [grand canyon] and photos of its gorges should pop up. This technology is still in its early stages, and we expect it to get better over time.