Put Less Effort Into Your Gmail Searching

    April 2, 2009
    Chris Crum

Google introduced a new lab for Gmail today that improves the search feature. The new Search Autocomplete lab is basically like Google Suggest for your inbox. Start typing in the searchbox, and it gives you suggestions.

The first suggestions you will get are names/email addresses, because these are the most popular kind of searches conducted in Gmail. "Some names are not easy to remember (my last name is an excellent example!) — with this new Labs feature you can just type a couple letters and select the desired contact from the drop down list," says Ibrahim Bokharouss at the Gmail Blog.

Gmail Labs - Search Autocomplete

Bokharouss also notes that Gmail offers a bunch of advanced search operators that let you search for a specific type of item or in a specific place (like chats or sent items). You can view the entire list of search operators and what they do at this Gmail Help Page.

The one for finding images is especially helpful as Bokharouss points out. With Search Autocomplete, you can just start typing "photos" or "pictures" for example, and you will get "has photos" in the drop down menu. "Att" will bring up more options:

Gmail Labs - Search Operators

Of course to activate the Search Autocomplete lab, simply go to settings and the "labs" tab and scroll through the labs features until you find it. You’ll probably notice some other useful ones to activate as well.