It’s Not Just You: Email Search Is Terrible. Here’s How to Do It Smarter.


Q: Finding specific messages in my Gmail app seems harder than it should be. Am I doing something wrong?

A: You’d think that Google, with its near-complete monopoly on helping us find things online, would produce an easily searchable inbox. Alas, I’m all too familiar with this issue, and I’ve received the same query from fed-up people who use Outlook and Apple’s Mail app, so the problem isn’t limited to Gmail. One factor: The apps tend to prioritize email search results based on the recency of messages, rather than their relevance. This isn’t helpful.

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