For a long time, searching in Gmail has been a decent, sometimes-frustrating experience. There is a ton of flexibility and utility available, but I’d be the average user doesn’t even realize any of it exists. For instance, did you know that you can type ‘older_than: 2d’ in your search query and it will auto-filter only results that are older than two days? Did you know that there are tons of these modifiers? Most people don’t, thus most people only use the most basic search functions in Gmail and sell the whole thing a bit short.
With the latest update to Gmail (that began rolling out yesterday and will fully arrive within 15 days for G Suite users), Google is adding search chips to your search results page that will quickly show you other options that could help narrow down your results. For example, in searching my inbox for ‘Honda’, I get 60 results. With a bit of modification, I can get only the results from the past week and whittle my output down quite a bit to only 4 messages. While I might not quickly think to use a modifier, having a chip underneath my search query to give me one-touch options would make me way more likely to give it a try.
Google says most users find that Gmail search could be faster and more intuitive. As a company that literally survives off of search, it would only make sense to see Google take steps to refine it on one of their flagship products. I often feel a tad overwhelmed with my Gmail search results, and I think having a few smart suggestions to parse my data a bit better will go a long way towards making search in my inbox much less of a painful experience. While the G Suite update should happen in the next couple weeks, Google hasn’t stated when we should expect to see this in the free, consumer-facing Gmail. Hopefully it will happen around the same time frame.