Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable reported last week that Google has added a “Personal” tab to its search filtering options, to go along with Web, News, Images, etc.
I found this notification of the new feature in my general search results.
If you don’t see it in your search results, you can access the Personal tab by clicking on the More tab and choosing Personal from the drop-down menu.
Google’s Personal Tab Is NOT Personalized Search
The Personal tab should not be confused with personalized search.
The difference between Google’s general personalized search engine results and the new Personal tab is that the general personalized search is based on your past search behavior (your queries and physical location) while the new Personal tab allows you to search your own content that is explicitly private: The contents of your own Gmail inbox and any pictures you’ve uploaded to Google Photos.
These search results are viewable only by you and only if you are logged into your Gmail account.
Google Photos In Personal Results
If you use Google Photos, as I do, the images you’ve uploaded to Google Photos will likely show up in Personal tab searches. Here’s what it looked like for me when I searched for food.
Your Gmail Inbox In Personal Results
More often than not, though, you’ll see the contents of your Gmail account in the Personal search results.
While Gmail has sophisticated native search capabilities, most people probably do not take advantage of them. Helping people find their own emails through a search interface with which they are already very familiar will likely increase the frequency with which people search their inbox.
I personally subscribe to a lot of newsletters and I often email myself articles and websites so I can find them later. For people who use their inbox as I do, adding the Personal tab makes it much easier and more convenient for me to retrieve that content when I need it.
While it appears that the Personal tab results are limited to Gmail and Photos for the time being, I would imagine Google would eventually include YouTube videos and Google Docs documents as well and any other Google-owned account you may use, for that matter.
What Does Google’s Personal Tab Mean For Marketers?
If the frequency of people searching their inbox increases, the Personal tab is likely to create more engagement with email newsletters as users find newsletter content in their Personal tab search results more frequently.
Extend The Life Of Content
Here’s what a Personal tab search for the Karwoski & Courage Success @ Creative PR newsletter looks like from my Gmail account.
Clicking on a link in the search results to one of our newsletters opens the email outside of the context Gmail.
This is actually a better user experience than viewing the email within the clutter of the Gmail inbox environment.
Email marketers should now think like search engine optimizers by considering what are the likely queries someone might use in the Personal tab in relation to their content.
More Advertising Opportunities
Search advertising based on email inbox searches just got much better. The ads in Gmail are tiny.
Compare those ads to the much greater screen real estate and more powerful features of Google AdWords ads that you can now place in the Personal tab.
For now, the ads are only appearing at the bottom of the search results page but I’d imagine we will see them at the top soon enough.