Because Google didn't learn anything from the Google Buzz privacy debacle, the company has now decided to begin testing the integration of users' Gmail content into general search results. So, for example, a search for Amazon on Google.com would also bring up a sidebar with e-mails from or related to your Amazon purchases.
Well, that's all well and good. Until someone's spouse, significant other, or coworker unwittingly uses that person's computer to search for something like "restaurants in Chicago" and up come e-mails about a secret rendezvous at the Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's.
"This is a baby step in a really complicated area," says the company's director of product management for universal search about the e-mail results, which Google describes as being in the "limited field trial" stage.
Google hopes to expand the feature to all e-mail providers. It also hopes to similarly integrate all other Google products, such as Docs, Calendar, and Drive.
While we have no problem with making one's entire Google account searchable from one screen, we think it should be within something like Gmail, where the user already has the expectation of privacy, as opposed to a Google search straight from the browser's nav bar.
Those that have absolutely no problem with their Gmail content possibly showing up in search results can opt into Google's field trial of this new search capability, though we recommend staying far, far away.
See our free Online Security Guide for advice on protecting your privacy and staying safe on the Web.
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This post originally appeared on The Consumerist.