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Google Search Box – Turned Up a Notch


I’ve been thinking the Google Search Box needs more juice for a long, long time.  A recent Pogue column got me thinking about it again – so here’s what I’m looking for.

What You Can Do Now

Google lets you log in – they know who you are when you run a search from the box.  Google needs to leverage that fact into increased functionality.  I’ve posted before about all the things the search box lets you do.  Look at Pogue’s column for details on the kinds of things the search box lets you enter.  Flight status, currency conversion, all kinds of useful stuff.  I’ve posted about it too.  But why doesn’t Google deliver more?

What You Should Be Able To Do

Parsing a line of text for the good stuff isn’t much of a challenge for the brainpower at Google – what I’m looking for is something they could turn on tomorrow.  Here’s an example:

Say I want to add an appointment.  I could go to my Google Calendar and use the Quick Add link.  Then I can type a natural language description of the appointment, something like-  tomorrow lunch with Merlin 11:45am at LAX In-N-Out -and the appointment gets created in my Google Calendar.  That’s nice, but why do I have to go to Google Calendar to do that when I have a permanent Google search box on every web browser I use?  I have to load Google Calendar and click the Quick Add link before I can enter my appointment details.  I don’t even want to go to Google Calendar after the appointment is created.

Instead, I’d rather type a qualifier in the regular search box like-  appt# Dentist Dec 7 10am.  The appointment would be added to the default calendar of whatever Google account I’m logged into.  Obviously the appt# would tell Google I’m creating an appointment.

Where do we go from there?  I’d be happy to send a quick email from the search box:  email# to:laporte, pogue, mossberg sub: google body: they don’t like my idea

In this case the names would be pulled from my Google contacts.  But you could enter an email address instead.  And once Google buys Twitter you could just use a screen name and send a tweet.

What else?  Depends on what you like to do with Google.  How about where# pambeesly to see her location in Google Latitude?  I should be able to add stocks to my iGoogle page.  Open a Google Document by name.  Send a text.  Upload a photo.


This is the big one.  Google should be itching to keep me in their mobile app for as long as they can.  If I can send texts, add appointments, open docs, and see where people are all from one simple search box on my mobile device I’m far less likely to wander off to another application or another vendor.  For some people it’s much more convenient than digging through a GUI and multiple page loads.

When  will we see something like this?  Who knows.  Google Calendar lets you specify lots of information with Quick Add, even details for a recurring appointment.  So someone over there likes plain language interfaces.  But it doesn’t let you specify a calendar.  You never know what features we’re going to get, but you can hope.

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