Google Drive’s new feature is all that and a bag of Search Chips
The platform’s new search feature lets you dive deep into your files.
The fact that it is hard to find a file on a platform owned by the company that runs the world’s largest search engine is just pure irony.
We imagine this is not lost on Google, which may be why they’re currently rolling out Search Chips, a feature that promises to help you hunt down that deeply buried document you so desperately need on Google Drive. The good news is that the new tool is easier to use and find than the classic Advanced Search filters, though these will remain available to further refine your query. The bad news is that currently, you’ll only see Search Chips if you’re a paying GSuite customer or your employer uses Workspace.
That leaves free-tier Google users with indefinitely mediocre search capabilities and a hankering for a savory snack.
How to use Search Chips on Google Drive
The name “Search Chips” refers directly to how this feature looks on the Google Drive interface.
You might have seen something similar with Gmail’s redesign: a series of buttons you can use to filter messages depending on who sent them, when they were sent, and if they have attachments.
[Related: You should download the new Google Drive for Desktop]
Google Drive’s Search Chips are basically the same, but the filters are optimized for finding files in the cloud. To summon them, enter a keyword into the search bar at the top of the screen and hit Enter—a row of buttons with different filtering options will instantly appear at the top of the results page.
Click on each of them to open a dropdown menu to tweak it and refine your search. From left to right, your first option is to filter by where the file is (Location), followed by what kind of document it is (File Type). The third button lets you search by the people who have access to the file you’re looking for. Click on it to open a dropdown menu, which will always have your name first and be populated by frequent contacts. Hover over an entry to see how that person is involved in the file you’re looking for—you can choose from files that belong to them (Is owned by), those they have shared with you (Is shared by), or both (All). There’s also a search bar in case you want to find someone who’s not listed.
The fourth button is the Last modified filter, which lets you use a predetermined (Today, Last 7 days, Last 30 days, This year, etc.) or a custom range to search only among files edited within those dates. Next up is Title only, which acts like a switch—click on it and Google will only search your keyword in document titles, not their contents.
The last search chip is the To do dropdown menu, which filters documents by calls to action. For this, you can use Follow-ups as a filter and search only among documents you own that have unresolved suggestions (Suggestions) or any file with comments assigned to you that you haven’t replied to yet (Action items).
You can also filter your query to see only documents with pending ownership transfer requests (Waiting on me to accept) or refine your search using one of Google Drive’s newest features—document approvals. On the To do menu, click Waiting for me to approve to see the files you have yet to give your OK to, and Requested by me to search among those with pending requests.
[Related: Become a Google Drive power user with these 20 tips and tricks]
And hey, we know change can be hard, but hopefully, smoother searches and increased productivity won’t leave you feeling too salty about this one.