CloudMagic Amps Up Gmail and Google Docs Searches

CloudMagic, the free browser extension (available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox) that brings super-speedy search to Gmail and Google Apps E-mail, is back in a new and improved version. It still delivers lightning-fast searches of your e-mail account, but now also searches your Google Docs and Contacts, too.

CloudMagic's tabbed interface lets you search your Google Docs account from within Gmail and vice-versa.
Once installed, CloudMagic appears as a small search bar on the upper right hand side of your Gmail or Google Docs window. You do need to manually add your Google accounts (it will support as many as you'd like) by supplying your user name and password. CloudMagic stores your password locally on your own PC, not on its servers

CloudMagic automatically begins indexing the contents of your e-mail account. The process is a bit time-consuming--it took a few hours to index the 5000+ messages I had stored in my Gmail account--but you can begin searching right away, while CloudMagic is indexing. And you'll see results right away, too. (Note that you won't see older messages in those results until the indexing is complete, however.)

Search results appear in real-time, and you can search your Gmail account from within your Google Docs account, or vice-versa. CloudMagic now sports a tabbed interface that lets you see which results it has returned from "Mails," "Docs," or "Contacts." It makes it very easy to find what you're looking for, no matter which app you happen to be using.

CloudMagic results appear in a panel that drops down from beneath the CloudMagic bar. You can see a brief preview of the content that it has found. An e-mail result, for example, displays the sender, subject line, and a brief preview of an e-mail message, while a Google Docs result displays the name of the file, its format, and information about who shared it. Clicking on the result brings up another panel with its full contents, which appears to the left of the CloudMagic results list. The result may crowd your screen if you're working on a machine with a small screen, but I didn't find it overwhelming on the 17-inch screen of a laptop PC.

From within the preview of the message, you can choose to open the document or email in question, or you can click on the name of an attached file in an email to open it. Unfortunately, though, CloudMagic changes the name of attachments when you open them; your file names are replaced with nonsensical stings of letters and numbers. If you save the document, that gibberish becomes your document name--not ideal for tracking. . I found CloudMagic very useful in locating attachments that I needed to update, but I do wish it would retain original document names.

That's a minor quibble, though. And it's one that I forget all about when I remember how fast CloudMagic's search tool is.

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