This Article is About
technical jargon
gmail
google
everyday lives
paragraphs
Gmail Email Search Secrets
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

Gmail Email Search Secrets

Google has made us lazy!

It's search algorithms are so good, and it has so much data to tune its algorithms against (estimated at 100 billion searches per month) that it seems that Google is almost mind-reading what we are after sometimes. And at other times, - not!

Search and the unstructured world!

The thing with search is this - most of the web is made up of what we call 'unstructured' data. Unstructured data means exactly that - messy text written by humans, full of paragraphs, links, and styles of writing of every imaginable type.

This is where Googles' search technology has shone - becoming almost ubiquitous. I mean, when you start inventing new verbs to describe behaviour (googling ... did your google it), we know that search has become part of the fabric of our everyday lives!

Searching in Gmail

So along come Gmail, and most of us, beyond putting files in different folders (labels to be more precise), we use the power of Search to find the right email, assuming (rightly) that that will be good enough.

The beauty of email though, is that it has some structure to it (what we called semi-structured data if you like technical jargon). This means that while the body of the email is unstructured - there are some fields in the email protocol that force some structure into the message so that it can be processed by mail platforms.

Like the from field, for instance. Or the To field. Or the date and subjects lines. And this allows us to do some fancy stuff with search - stuff that most people never realize is sitting there just waiting for them to take advantage of!

The power of advanced search for finding stuff in Gmail

I'm going to show you here a few tricks that you can use to help you be more precise in your search of your archives of email - something that comes in handy the larger your email archives are (I have over 50 000 emails so yeah, this works for me real well! :-p ).

Let's assume I've labelled my expense receipt emails with the label 'expense'. Let's further assume I want to find an expense to do with United (the airline) in June 2012. And let's assume I have 50 000 emails!

Here's how you can use the semi-structured fields to rapidly narrow down the results in Gmail. In the search bar in Gmail you could enter something like:

  • after:2012/05/01 before:2012/07/31 label:expenses United

Does that make sense? It is almost readable to us humans isn't it. In everyday parlance it means:

  • Look for any email between May 1st and July 31st 2012, that has been labeled as an expense and includes the word United anywhere in the message.

The date format is in year/month/day order, and if you have any labels (folders) in your Gmail at all, when you click on that label, that is exactly what Gmail does - it searches for label:term. The United bit on the end narrows the search even further.

There are a whole lot of other sneaky 'operands' that you can use to effectively narrow searches (Gmail has made it easy for you by providing a small drop-down arrow on the search box with some fields that you can fill in). Here are some of the more interesting:

  • is:starred
  • is:spam
  • is:inbox

Well those are self explanatory - narrow down to those emails with those conditions. How about:

  • has:attachement (narrow down to only those emails with attachements)
  • to: (self-explanatory)
  • from: (self-explanatory)
  • subject: (self-explanatory)

There are plenty of other advanced search criteria that you can review. Of course, you won't use them all, but you can get quite creative with how you use the combination of search criterial.

Mind you, it's not as if you will sit there typing in such long queries every time you want to find something but if you do need to do it once, you can save it as a Gmail filter and 'have it do something' (I use these sorts of searches to create filters that automatically attach labels to emails that meet very specific criteria as they come in).

I'd be curious to see how creatively you can use these search secrets of Gmail - so go ahead and share some in the commentary below. I'll share back some of mine - let's see how creatie we can get!


Street Talk

No comments present
You May Also Like
3 Great Ways To Take Advantage Of Screenshots
If you didn't know, anyone can take a screenshot on a Mac or PC for free. You can also opt for professional screenshot software to help for the editing process, but this is a matter of choice. Regardless of whether you're taking basic shots to make a point, or professional…
By: Nathaniel Brenes in  Internet and Businesses Online   Mar 29, 2013  
4
  Likes: 2

Get A Danish IP Address - Android, Ios, Mac, Windows, Linux
You can get a Danish IP address on your phone or computer no matter where you are in the world. An IP address from Denmark can get you access to Denmark-Only websites. I don't know much about the internet in Denmark, but I do know quite a bit about geo-restriction…
By: Rodders Gillam in  Computers and Technology   Jul 02, 2012  
0
  Likes: 6

Why Get An American Ip Address With A Vpn - Not With A Proxy
So you know you need an American IP, but you're not sure why you should get an American IP address with a VPN as opposed to with a proxy.  VPNs are proxies, though they get you pretty much the same result, ie, the change to an anonymous IP, each offer…
By: Rodders Gillam in  Computers and Technology   Sep 30, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

In Forex, it is Better to Be Profitable Than Being Right
Ask any forex trader and their ultimate goal is to achieve overall trading success and being profitable from their trades. Contrary to what one might get to read over the Internet now a days, there is no single way, let alone a silver bullet (read as EA's or other automated…
By: Jeanene in  Investing  >  Day Trading   Mar 24, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

Change IP Address Online And Change Your Identity
As you surf the internet you leave footprints on the sites you visit. It may be that a cookie from the websites you visit was put in your temporary internet files. It could be that Google made a note of an advertisement you clicked on, or it could be that…
By: Rodders Gillam in  Computers and Technology   Mar 12, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

Logo Design Services In Dubai
The logo is considered to be the heart of the company. It can be anything such a symbol or animal or initials of the company. This is very important because it helps to outline the importance of having an integrated strategy when selecting the proper logo. A professional logo represents…
By: Myka Angela in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Web Design   Jun 08, 2016  
1
  Likes: 3

How to Sell Digital Camera
Types of Digital Cameras There are many kinds of digital cameras on the market, each with its own purpose and key advantages. It's important to consider the cost of the cameras as well as the features they offer. Digital SLR Camera Also known as a DSLR, this is the most…
By: Ervin in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Ecommerce   Jun 08, 2016  
1
  Likes: 4

How to Find Real Clothing Dropship Suppliers And Make More Money !
Learning to find real clothing dropship suppliers is one of the most important skills that you can develop as an online marketer selling clothing. Not just any dropshipper , but dropshipper that will deliver on time, sell you products at a price where you can make 20-50% markup on the…
By: Ervin in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Ecommerce   Jun 07, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Dropshipping With Cheap Wholesale Dropshippers
The main concept of dropshipping is selling products you don’t actually own. Working with cheap wholesale dropshippers is not only a product acquisition model, but also includes product fulfillment. The process works by taking orders from your online business and forwarding them to supplier/ cheap wholesale dropshippers . They in…
By: Ervin in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Ecommerce   Jun 07, 2016  
0
  Likes: 1

Myths You Probably Don’t Know About Hyperconverged Infrastructure
Hyperconvergence is an integration of compute and virtualization resources in a single server system. As efficient as it could be, the goal is to minimize the complexities and simplify management approach. Nevertheless, a newly emerged concept, hyperconvergence is often misinterpreted and the conclusion created is mostly wrong. It’s not their…
By: Priti Shetti in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Web Hosting   Jun 07, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Choosing A Mobile Apps Development Company In India
There are several aspects you need to look into while choosing the right mobile application development company for your needs. Businesses these days are heavily dependent on sophisticated tools and user interfaces to engage the modern customers. Therefore most businesses are these days getting sophisticated applications developed to support the…
By: John Hrq in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Internet Marketing   Jun 07, 2016  
0
  Likes: 1

Effective Ways to Design A Template Website
A website can be designed attractive by using advanced templates. Choosing a great template can help business owners to establish their online business much faster on the Internet by using social networking sites. Many companies offer an affordable price or even free of cost templates, making it a popular choice…
By: Ethan Jones in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Web Design   Jun 04, 2016  
1
  Likes: 1

Creating The Right Online Marketing Strategy
People that own a website are often quite anxious about their needs for reaching out to consumers. Owners are continually faced with a unique base of challenges when trying to remain competitive with comparable pages in their niche while also considering their budgetary constraints which can seem counter intuitive on…
  Likes: 1

Picking the Right Country for Offshore Staffing
From its roots as a practice pervasive in assembling organizations, outsourcing has developed to wind up an industry in itself. There are different nations that have grasped seaward staffing and different parts of the outsourcing field. The sheer number of different errands and occupations that can be outsourced is noteworthy,…
By: Zeeshan Ahmad in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Web Development   Jun 04, 2016  
1
  Likes: 1

How to Boost Targeted Traffic With Good Content?
Search Engine Optimization is important for optimizing your website’s content for search engines. SEO services can be used to optimize your website and the content for the search engine to index your content, categorize each of your pages based on the information they contain, and then serve those pages up…
By: Nofrillseo in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Internet Marketing   Jun 04, 2016  
1
  Likes: 3

Article Views: 846    Report this Article