I'm sitting on a planning committee for a big family reunion later this year. There has been a lot of back-and-forth correspondence with several of my cousins in the past few months and we've shared some documents and spreadsheets over Google Docs.
On several instances, as I've needed to refer back to the documents to find a contact name for a vendor or an earlier estimate, I've found myself having to search both my Gmail inbox and my Google Docs home page. Today, Google launched a new Labs feature called Apps Search, which turns the "Search Mail" box in Gmail into a "Search Mail & Apps" box - eliminating the need for one of my searches.
Normally, I might not blink at one of these incremental updates to Google Mail and Google Apps, but this one - a small but helpful little tool - comes at a time when Google has taken a bit of a beating for not offering what Microsoft offers in productivity tools, such as the ability to sort messages the way officials in the state of California want to.
One of the reasons that I've been bullish on Google's offering is because the company tends to think a bit out of the box on bonus features that they put into Labs - such as Undo Send. Sure, I can't "sort" messages by name or date but I can search for "from:joe" or "subject:reunion" and pretty quickly find what I'm looking for.
And, of course, the company just adds these sorts of tools. You don't have to buy and install a new version of the entire app. You simply enable the feature in your Labs settings - or disable it later if it really wasn't all that it was made to be.