Following its update to Gmail back in September, Google is now adding the same search “chips” or filters to Drive to make it easier to refine your search query for files. For now, it’s launching in beta, but it’s available across the board for all Google Workspace accounts, as well as those with G Suite Basic and Business licenses so long as you express your interest using this form and get accepted.
To make these filters appear, you’ll first have to perform a search using Drive’s big ol’ search bar. Once you’ve done that, the chips will populate the space right below said bar and just above your files. To be clear, these options were already available in Drive through the filter icon found to the right of the bar, but since they have been hidden, they are considered out of sight and out of mind for most users. I personally have used them only once or twice and having them out in the open will be something we’ll all probably appreciate in a pinch.
Google hopes that users will use these drop-downs in order to whittle down what they’re on the hunt for instead of having to punch in several keywords, though both methods are interpreted the same way by Google’s search algorithms. The major difference is that most people probably wouldn’t understand that these operators can be used in combination with one another, so the chips act not only as a tool for convenience but also for discovery.
Using them, you can locate files by type (think Google Doc, PDF, or image, for example), owner, location or folder in Drive, date modified, title only, tasks associated with them, and even items shared with you that you don’t own directly. Do you use search operators in Drive, or just in Google Search on the web? I’ve found that while they’re powerful tools for locating items with less room for error, they still aren’t perfect. I’d love to see the ability to search files within a specific location work a bit better, but this is a great step in the right direction!