David Szpunar: Lead Engineer, PC Help Services

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August 5th, 2007 at 10:34 am Print This Post Print This Post

No Searching Google Reader!?

Why can I not search my feeds in Google Reader? I’ve noticed over the past several weeks, every time I think “now where in my feeds did I last see x?” I can’t just pull up Reader and ask. Ironically enough, before I started this post, I decided to see what others were saying about this, so I searched Google. Lots of good stuff, but nothing along the lines of “it will be built in soon” which is what I really wanted to hear. There do appear to be some workarounds:

Poor Man’s Google Reader Search appears to have a solution that lets you search a public label or an individual feed, but that’s not what I was looking for.

Google Reader Gears Search has a way to search Google Reader using the Google Gears offline post database if you are set up to use Reader offline with Gears, but again this requires a browser add-in. The creator of this option actually talked to Chris Wetherell, the Google Reader creator, about why there was no search, but he doesn’t articulate the answer with any level of detail.

Google Groups has a thread about Google Reader search, which basically asks the same question I do, but provides no answers. Martin Porcheron comments back in May that Google Reader has updated their CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to include hints of search capabilities, but those haven’t yet materialized. This seems to be the most promising reference that Google is indeed working to make this happen.

The most promising current solution that I’ve found came via a Lifehacker entry about a Google Operating System post: How to Add Search to Google Reader. It requires using Google Co-op and Greasemonkey (there’s another browser add-on to install still!), but it is probably the one I’m going to try for now. You also must export your feeds list and re-import it at the Co-Op site every time you update your subscriptions. Why is it so hard for Google to integrate their own two services, anyway?! I suppose I’ll have to live with the workaround for now, but I still think it’s strange for a company so focused on search to eschew it in such a widely used product. And there’s even an updated Greasemonkey script that will display your search results right within Google Reader. So you (and I) can fake it ’til they make it!