Gmail search found to be lacking

by Donna Fontenot November 28th, 2004 

Yesterday, I remembered that I had never emailed someone back and went in search of the original email in my Gmail account, so that I could reply. I could not remember much about the email except that it had the word "monkey" in it. So, I typed the word "monkey" into the Search Mail form and was perplexed that it returned 0 results. After being frustrated for a few minutes, I finally typed in the word "monkeys", and voila, it found the email immediately.

Now, I know that Google's search engine returns different results for singular vs. plural forms of words, however, I fully expected that out of only about 100 emails total in my Gmail account, that when searching for the singular version of a word, it would be smart enough to find the only email that contained the plural version of the word. I could understand if it ranked the plural version below the singular (assuming there were two emails – one with the singular and one with the plural form of the word in them). But the fact that it could not find the email at all when searching for the singular form of the word was inadequate to say the least. I could also understand if the singular form of the word was a completely different word than the plural – such as virus and virii, for example. But "monkey" is fully contained in the word "monkeys".

Now, I do not know how closely related the search algo for Gmail is to the search algo for the Google search engine, but surely, they should both be able to have the ability to find "monkey", when the document contains the word "monkeys".

Very disappointing, Google. Maybe, instead of branching out into many semi-related areas, you should refocus on what you used to do very well – SEARCH.

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