ergophobe - 10:58 pm on Aug 12, 2012 (gmt 0)
I haven't heard one single person, industry or civilian, say they want this feature.
That doesn't really mean anything. Most things that we can't live without were once things nobody had asked for, because they didn't know to ask for them.
I'm not saying this is one of those things, but I will say this. More and more, I want and expect search to be integrated into more aspects of life and, for all our gripes about Google, they still do search very well. Often I find that when looking for something on Amazon, I have two tabs open, one using Amazon native search and one on Google using site:amazon.com. Same with many help sites - Drupal forums, Stack Exchange, whatever.
I hated gmail at first and tried to avoid it. I still tend to avoid a gmail address, but almost all of my email@example.com addresses are actually using GMail as a client. Why? In addition to excellent spam filtering, I think ultimately Google-quality search, complete with synonym search, spell correction, language stemming and all the other things we now take for granted, just blows any other email search out of the water for me.
When interacting with a client, search is my main means of finding their emails and reviewing our conversations and Google does it well.
So now, to the question at hand... Like Ted, I'm not going to be a guinea pig here. Google does make me nervous and fearful. As I say, despite these fears, they have bought me off with an email product that works extremely well for the way I work. That said, I could see a day when I will find it frustrating that I have to actually go to GMail to retrieve a conversation. I can imagine that rather than loading my GMail, I'll be signed in and if a client calls, I'll just type a search into Google and retrieve both his public-facing information AND our private conversations.
I already have Rapportive in GMail, which sort of works the other way around - it finds his Twitter, Linked In and other info. This new feature brings that outside of GMail.
Am I scared by how much Google knows about me and my business? Yes. Does this really have much of an impact on that if I'm already a GMail user? I don't think so. Am I excited about using this feature? No, not at all... but someday I may see this as normal and expected.
Example: I thought the Chrome Unibar was the stupidest thing and I certainly didn't ask for it. After I used it for a while, though, I found it frustrating to have to decide which box to type in. I now find having an address bar and a search box a small usability obstacle, a tiny tiny inconvenience, but one that I notice when I'm on Chrome or IE.