MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Are you still scrolling through your e-mail just to locate the particulars of an airline reservation or an online purchase you made weeks ago? That's so 2012.
Google announced that most U.S.-based users of its search service soon will be able to retrieve useful information from their other Google services, such as Gmail or Calendar, by typing or speaking a conversational question such as "Is my flight on time?" or "Show me my purchases." The service will be available to those who use the Google search app on an Apple or Android smartphone or tablet, or a personal computer running Google's Chrome browser.
Google's new feature can retrieve airline information from a confirmation email saved in Gmail, and then get an updated flight status from the Internet. Anticipating privacy concerns, Google said a user can only get personal information from his or her own account, and only when signed in. Users can opt out of the service.
For now, the service works with five categories of information — flight information, hotel and restaurant reservations, online purchases, calendar events and photos.