Search everything everwhere

We have been watching Airtable for many many years now but have not bothered testing it any further as have been awaiting the implementation of a search box on every page that allows uses to find results from every record, in every table, in every base. Currently in the app, one can only search for a base by its name instead of the search box including all records from any base.

Interestingly, I have a business associate who has also not bothered switching over to Airtable for the same frustration and mentioned they also have another business associate who is in the same boat. This is very understandable as it is such a mandatory feature for any such similar service.

Surely it would take the Dev team a matter of moments to code this in and allow users to fully test the service before deciding if they would like to inevitably upgrade.

Can any representative from Airtable explain the business decision for this not having been already implemented as it is truly confusing.

Many thanks

@Ersatz_Feign,

I’m pretty sure this feature is not achieved in moments of development effort for Airtable. But I can certainly agree with you - unified search across all content is a key business requirement.

Airtable, after all,helps workers save time and effortless access to information is a huge time-saver.

Your description of the desired feature, however, left out one very important technical requirement - security.

Unified search across multiple bases comes with a responsibility to suppress results that do not fall into the security context. Even if you show such results that are inaccessible by virtue of the access control, it is still a breach of security.

Another aspect of search where every field and every word is required, involves the indexing of full text. Doing this well and in a performant manner comes with added complexities that your suggestion doesn’t mention, but I’m sure you would expect the ability to find information using complex string queries.

Lastly, consider the need to search conversations in context with data. These are two very different data sources that are coupled with an index. A search architecture would have to factor these relationships in the context of security as well. But alas, there’s no evidence there is an API available for conversations, making it a slightly bigger lift for the Dev team.

The science of search is probably best understood with a quick read of the ElasticSearch documentation. Doing search well is no small undertaking and any new capability in Airtable would likely come with the expectation by everyone that it be really good.

I’m my view, this is precisely a good case why custom Blocks development should be allowed. Seamless indexation and a delightful full-text search experience could be achieved with open-source platforms such as ElasticSearch.