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September 9, 2007

Tips for Google Reader Search

While Google Reader's new search feature has many limitations and is still far from Bloglines, there are some features that help you find a post faster.

1. You have three ways to view search results:

* snippet view, similar to the way Google displays web search results. This view helps you decide if a result is useful by showing snippets related to your query.

* expanded view, that shows the full posts. Choose this view if you want to read most search results.

* list view, which only shows the title of the post. This is useful if you want to explore a lot of search results.

2. Exact matches: put quotation marks around your search terms to get the results that include an exact phrase.

3. Wildcard: use an asterisk to replace some words in your query. This only works for exact matches. Include an asterisk for each word you want to replace.

For example: "has * * * new features" matches: "has just announced several new features", "has recently added two new features", "has released a few new features".

4. Negative searches: if you want all the posts that contain [book search] but don't include [Google], search for [book search -Google].

5. You can bookmark searches. Google Reader doesn't offer an option to save searches, but if you find yourself repeating the same searches, bookmark them. The latest Google Reader update added transparent URLs so you can use the Back button or bookmark pages.


6. Search using the keyboard:

/ - add focus to the search box
Tab - choose a folder or a feed to restrict your search
Enter - instead of clicking the Search button, press Enter

Alternate between the three views: 1 (expanded view), 2 (list view), 3 (snippet view).

To select the first search result, press j. Then you can go to the next result (j) or the previous result (k).

Press Enter to read the full post and go back to the search results by pressing Enter again.

7. View a search result in its original context: make sure that the result is active and press v or middle-click on the title. This will open a new tab/window with the blog post or news article.

8. You can search other people's shared items and public folders. Assuming you know the numeric ID of a user, do a search in your shared items and replace your ID with another ID:

Example: here's a search for [Microsoft] in Robert Scoble's shared items.

9. Because Google Reader is not yet able to rank results by relevancy, a good way to make sure you'll find a post in six months is to star it. When you want to retrieve an important post, restrict the search results to the starred items first.


  1. Does an OR search work, as it does with Google? As far as I can tell, it does not.

  2. RE: point 9
    When you search in starred items, it returns not only items that are currently starred, but items you have since UNstarred. A boon to some, perhaps, but to me it is non-intuitive. If I unstarred it, it is no longer special to me.

  3. I think it takes a while until a change in your starred items is reflected in the search results. So if you star an item and do a search in the next 2 minutes, it's unlikely that the item will appear in the search results. Google Reader probably doesn't have the computational resources do that.

  4. I have old starred items that I've unstarred a long time ago that show up in searches. Kinda annoying, it would be handy to specify that only currently starred items show up in search results.

  5. RE the starred item issues, I think it would be most useful if that option behaved like searching "search term is:starred" in Gmail: only return currently starred items.

  6. Is there a way to search for posts within a specific date range? I' like to be able to display all the posts from a folder fromt he last week so I can see if I've missed anything important.

  7. Is the three view can be specified in URI? I don't think the snippet view is useful, I'd like to see list view as default? But there is no settings to about that...

  8. Is there a way to make the list view as default? The snippet view is not useful for me. It would be good if it can be specified in URI for bookmarks.

  9. I believe "OR" searches are possible using the | character. Example: Google | Yahoo

  10. How do I use google reader?
    I would like to subscribe to mac|life (mac tip of the day). but I don't know how

  11. Go to Google Reader, click on "Add a subscription" and enter:
    (the address of the page you want to subscribe to)

  12. How to search by date? I mean, I need to see all my feeds in my Greader from 20 of may till 19 of July. Unfortunately gReader archives some feeds. For example. I didn't check my gReader for 1 month (20/05 - 19/07)and some of my feeds show that they have only 1000+, but when i finished reading that 1000+ I discovered that they end with 15/06(date) that means that gReader archived older feeds from 20/05 till 15/06 (even though they were unread). SO I want to catch up with that and is it possible to disable to archive new messages????

  13. How do I search for items that are starred, unread, and found in a specific subscription or group of subscriptions?

  14. Yeah, how do I search for items that are starred, unread, and found in a specific subscription or group of subscriptions?


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