Behind the Scenes: Bringing Search to Life in Evernote Web

Behind the Scenes: Bringing Search to Life in Evernote Web


– Hi, I’m Ian Small, CEO of Evernote. And I’m here today with May, who’s a
member of our product management team. May works on the Search
and Organize parts of Evernote. Today we’re going to do
something a little bit different. If you remember the
very first episode of Behind the Scenes, I was here with Mariano, who works with May. And Mariano was
walking us through his ideas for what search in the future
could be like at Evernote. And the ideas that he was
talking to us about were so early that what we had
were paper prototypes. We had designs on paper
taped to a whiteboard behind us. And we walked through
all these different aspects of how we thought
we could make search better. We spent the last
several months working on those ideas and turning them into reality. An actual, real,
working implementation. And what we’re
going to do with May today is walk through
that implementation and show you how
those ideas have come to life and result in
an interface that I think we will all
enjoy using a lot more. May, can you show us
how search works? – All right, let’s jump right in. So I’m going to click into search. – So I notice as soon as you click
there, there’s something showing up. – Yeah, so this is
our new suggestions box. We basically pre-populate
this with a variety of content that we think you might be
interested in searching for, given your prior activity. – So this is our best guess
for what you might want not knowing anything at all about what it is. – That’s right. So now let me start typing
and you’ll see that the suggestion box is automatically updating. It’s basically pulling from the back end the most relevant matches for your text. [typing] And then you’ll notice that over
here, I accidentally made a typo. However, ‘Austin’ still shows up. And the reason for this is that if the
algorithm doesn’t find the exact match it’ll go to the next closest. And then I will click
on ‘Austin Hotel’ here, and you can see
the results in the notes pane. This is sorted by relevance,
which means that we’re taking into account your past behavior with these notes, as well as the quality of the
match of this text within these notes. And then over here
on the right hand side, you can see that
in the note, the matching text is automatically
highlighted and the note is scrolled to the right place for you. – That’s very cool. So basically we have
highly interactive search, where you can actually get
suggestions and it corrects for mistakes, relevancy ranks, and
opening notes to the right place and highlighting what you
are supposed to be able to see in them. – Exactly. – That’s cool. I know we can search for more
than just the text that’s in a note. Why don’t you show us how that works? – Yeah. So let me clear out the search. We have also built in
some powerful new filters. I am trying to look for a note
with the ‘succulents’ tag on it. So let me start there. And then right away
this ‘succulents’ tag pops up, and so I can click into that. And my notes are now filtered
for the ‘succulents’ tag. And then on the left hand side, this shows
the variety of other filters that I can also apply in conjunction with
the ‘succulents’ tag filter. So I can do some more tags, I could filter
by notebooks, or I could filter by what we call these ‘Contains’ filters, which
basically means that the note contains the elements listed over here. So let’s say that I know that the note
I’m looking for also has a URL in it. So I’m going to click that. And then you could basically keep going in
this manner and narrow down on your notes list. Let’s say I want to do one
more which is phone numbers… And then there you go. These are the two notes
that I was looking for. – So I’ve managed to build, or you’ve
managed to build in this case, a query that is: ‘things that have the tag
succulents, that have a URL in the content, that have a phone
number in the content.’ – Exactly. – That’s pretty powerful. But it also took a little bit of time and
I might not want to do that every time I’m looking for this set of things. So can I save this? – Yes, absolutely. So you can come over here to the ‘more
options’ button, you click on this and you can save your search. Let’s say I want to call this ‘Favorite
Succulents.’ I have the ability to add it to shortcuts, and then I hit ‘Save.’ – So if I then wanted to get back to
that search tomorrow or the next day or next week or next month,
how would I do that? – Yeah, so let me clear
the search and show you. So right here, right when I click in, it’s
actually automatically here under ‘Saved Searches.’ But let’s say you have a lot of
saved searches and you want to type to get to it… And there you go. – So. This is really cool. It’s very interactive. It’s a very modern search experience. I know that a lot of our users have been
using Evernote for a while and they’ve become masters of the more advanced search
syntax that we have that lies deep in the product. Now that we have this very interactive
version, that lets us filter and refine searches and progressively find what
we want, does that syntax still work? – Absolutely. So all of the advanced
search syntax capabilities that were on our previous
clients are available here as well. So let’s say that I
wanted to find my notes with the tag
‘succulents’ through syntax. I can basically just do this. Oh, but actually
I had a typo there and so it’s letting me know that this tag doesn’t exist. So, let me close out of
that and do it again. [typing] – So if they want to use
their powerful syntax, they can. But actually it’d probably be easier
just to start typing the word ‘succulent’ and hit the ‘Add Filter’ button. – Yep, we have two
ways for users to do this. – That’s fantastic. So what we have here really
is a much more powerful search experience and it’s real and it’s working. When are we going to
get this in front of users? – So that’s the exciting part. We’re actually really close. So I would say that
in the coming couple of weeks, we are going to be releasing
this to two batches of users. The first is a small subset of
users on our new modern Evernote Web, and then the second
are users in our beta program. – So if I’m a user and I want
to get my hands on this sooner, the best way to do that is:
A, I need to be using the web, and B, sign up for the beta program. – Yep. – Okay, that’s pretty good start. Second question. Everything we’re seeing here is the web. We’ve talked about
why we do web first before, but are we going
to see this powerful search on our other platforms as well? – Yes, that’s the plan. So we like to roll out in web first
because it’s easiest to test there, but the plan is that over time
we will also roll out the search into all of our new clients. So whether you’re on Mac, Windows,
or the new mobile app, you will have it. – I’m super excited
to see what users think when they actually get
their hands on it and start to try it as a part of the beta program. We hope you’ve enjoyed
this episode of Behind the Scenes and seeing what happens
when we start with paper designs and take them all the way
to a working implementation. And we’re looking forward to seeing what you have to tell us
when you give it a try. We’ll see you next time,
Behind the Scenes at Evernote.

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