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Gmail and Google Drive updated with new search modifiers and more features for added productivity

Gmail and Google Drive users get additional search modifiers and functionalities for better organization of emails and content. These include search by relative date, search by size, drag-and-drop folders and more.
November 14, 2012

It’s been more than half a decade since I ventured into online journalism and freelance writing, and since that time, I have not relied on a corporate IT setup for my communication and application needs. As such, cloud services like Gmail have been a boon. And having been a longitme Gmail user, I’ve been able to observe how it has evolved from a simple email solution — which was then groundbreaking because of its radically different UI compared with other email apps — to what is now turning to be a complete system for managing and working on documents online with additional apps like Google Drive.

But one gripe I have always had with Gmail is that its search functionality still has some limitations. True, while you can already search by date, sender, recipient, label and whatnot, you could not search for messages according to size. This has proved to be difficult whenever I find the need to clean up my inbox, and I have had to resort to third-party apps like Find Big Mail to help me clean up Gmail. If your Gmail inbox has reached the space limit, like mine does on occasion, you will find this functionality useful.

Google has introduced a new search parameter to Gmail’s organic search function that lets users search for messages with a specified size. This can be done using the “larger” and “size” modifiers. For instance:

  • size:5m will result in emails larger than 5 megabytes
  • larger:5m gets you the same results.

Gmail also introduces other modifiers, such as the “older than” search function. While you could previously search for messages within a specific range with the before: and after: modifiers, these required a specific date. A new function will let you limit the search using relative times.

  • older_than:1y gets you emails older than a year
  • older_than:2w gets you emails two weeks old.

This certainly offers better utility since we’re likely to be more used to determining relative time, like looking for emails sent by a client two months ago, or finding something sent to us last year.

Google Drive

Apart from Gmail, Google Drive has also received an update. Now users have more ways of searching for documents and files on Google Drive:

  • Search by person
  • View Google Earth map files
  • Create new folders while organizing files
  • Drag and drop folders and files in Chrome
  • Search through your trash

Some of these Google Drive updates are exclusive to Chrome, though, so if you’re using Firefox, Safari or — gasp! — Internet Explorer, then you might not be able to enjoy the new features.

Are you an avid Gmail or Google Drive user? Check out the new features now and tell us what you think.