Re: Google Drive Integration and Search

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6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

The Google Drive integration…will workspaces and bases become searchable in Google Drive?

So if I enable Google Drive integration and I have some text in a record in some base, if I use the Google Drive search function to search for this text will it find and return the relevant workspace/base as a search result?

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5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Hi @Heirtable,

Welcome to Airtable’s Community!

The Google Drive integration with Airtable allows you to create bases from within Google Drive, and also it creates shortcuts to Airtable bases. However, because these are just shortcuts/links to your Airtable base, you won’t be able to search for specific records on a particular base from Google drive.

Hope that helps!

Thank you, it does help, in terms of answering my question.

So how do we search bases…I just have the free option at the moment.


Hi @Hairtable

I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here.

I have the free version and I use both mobile and desktop apps/versions.

There is a search engine built into the base. It should be in the top, left hand side, for both mobile and desktop versions. It’s a magnifying glass image.

Hope this helps.

Mary Kay

6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

UPDATE: Actually, now I come to think about it, the search you describe is really no different than using the browsers built-in search-the-page functionality.

What I think I was getting at is a search capability on the main Airtable page, the page that shows all your workspaces/bases. If I am on that page and I have some text I want to search for (not knowing ahead of time what base it may reside in), how would I do that? That doesn’t seem possible.


Hi @M_k,

Thank you indeed for jumping in. Can’t believe I didn’t notice those searching possibilities in bases, in both the web and app versions. Then again, my eyesight isn’t what it used to be.


Correct. This is not possible and there are probably many reasons this is the case. Have a read of this paper to get your head around the basic idea of a useful search system in Airtable.

I’ve used this approach to create search features inside Google Drive, even ones that aggregate multiple workspaces.

6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Thanks @Bill.French,

Interesting reading. But I am still a little perplexed. I imagined that by 2020 search was a problem that had already been solved. From a user perspective I think we’ve gotten used to products having an effective built-in search capability. When the product is something like Airtable, where lots of user uploaded/added data is being stored then search becomes pretty much indispensable.

From the doc:

It must embrace all that Airtable could ever store and all that any user could ever imagine capturing and in a way that is not only discoverable, but indexable in a reliable and efficient manner.

Perhaps, but to start with I would settle for a simple plain text search ability. I think most users would. It’s better than having no search at all. I think the lack of even a simple search (i.e. to search through all bases for text in a cell) will be an impediment to Airtable uptake.

As I say, I’m a little surprised since I think at this point users consider search to be a nut that has already been cracked.

Here is a simple mockup of what I imagine the search box UI would look like:



Indeed, but this is essentially why the search experience is so terrible [today]. Your requirement openly suggests something simple is a good start and better than nothing. However, once you have something, you will likely be even more dissatisfied because “something” is simply not meeting the general requirements.

Airtable has already delivered a few versions of “something” better than nothing. They’s done the same with security. Can anyone honestly say that search and security features are “good enough”? Probably not.

When you have a lot of information to wade through, simple keyword search causes a rapid an insidious outcome; you have so many things that match keywords, you have no sense of relevance.

As is the case with security, implementing it as an “afterthought” will almost always provide a poor outcome.

This is another assumption that is flawed. Imagine a security model that cannot support SSO. This is a showstopper for the enterprise. Search is very much the same - you need a search model that can breach the boundaries of any given data source. A “built-in” search feature is not ideal and it’s one reason why you don’t have cross-base or cross-workspace capabilities today.

Did you (by 2020) imagine that most apps would be based on the API economy and convergence of best-in-class database tools?

Not only must search work across native Airtable bases and workspaces, it must (in many cases) embrace information that’s nearby. Search is not a problem that has been solved and Airtable has not cornered the market when it comes to providing woefully underperforming findability.