More than a keyword — how could you leverage the history of a search term?

How many times a day do you use a keyword to search for something? On Google alone, there are around 40,000 search queries made every second — and that’s not even beginning to think about how many are made in other places, such as in Slack or Microsoft Teams (where it might take a couple of searches to find that one message you need).

So that’s a staggering number of searches using keywords — but what about the results? When you search on an engine like Google or Bing, you’re looking for a specific piece of information. Shockingly enough, around 50% of searches in Google end without a click, which could be read as nearly 50% of people don’t find what they’re looking for, although some would undoubtedly find answers in the suggested answer snippets.

Does this apply for searches on workplace tools too, though?

What exactly are you looking for?

I know from experience when I search for something on Slack or on my team’s Notion, I have one of two things in mind:

Specific Search: I remember seeing a specific update, and I need to find it. This might be a message with a link to an important report, a status update, or a post with a discussion in a thread that I need to catch up on before setting priorities for my team’s next sprint. Often, this takes a couple of searches to find, as I’ll search using exact phrases that I remember seeing (although admittedly more often than not, I can’t find anything and start to question whether the update ever existed in the first place).

That’s where standard search results are fine — so long as I know what I need to find. Now, if nothing appears, that’s where it’s less convenient to waste time scrolling through pages of results, and it starts to feel like a second kind of searching…

Speculative Search: Often, I want to know about the status of a project that I’m not directly involved in, or I hear an interesting update in the all-hands meeting, so I search for information related to this more generally. As you might have guessed, this mostly results in again scrolling through several pages of irrelevant information with a couple of hidden gems before deciding to just ask around for an update instead.

For this, the team at Augmentor has been working on an alternative solution — a timeline. For speculative searches, or those yielding no responses, a timeline can be shown, displaying the history of the keyword or search term.

For example, searching for a specific project name, in this case, would let you see when the discussion around this project began, when the first tickets were made, when updates were given — going beyond showing results from just one tool or platform, and giving updates from across all your platforms, meaning you don’t get an incomplete picture.

For more than just curiosity…

Sure, this is useful for those who are just interested in catching up on the progress of a project or seeing how discussion related to a specific key term has evolved over time, but there’s other potential too.

Progress tracking for project managers

Of course, project managers will have their own up-to-date timelines and know the current status, but especially when inheriting a legacy project, being able to search for terms related to the project and see a timeline of how comms related to this have developed can give key insights into how progress has been made over time — including a clear overview of any bottlenecks or instances of halted progress.

Scope creep for product and engineering teams

From experience in Product, I can tell you that scope creep has been the bane of my professional life for some time. But the problem is in the name — it creeps up on you before you notice. By seeing a timeline of comms related to key terms for products I am working on, it would be possible to see if discussion has flared up at any point, allowing me to proactively start to recognize opportunities for checking if this is due to new ideas being brought in from stakeholders or problems with decisions that have been made, and effectively begin to manage scope creep rather than act as a firefighter.

Onboarding for HR across the company

I don’t know about you, but when I join a new team, one of the first things I do is scroll back through chat history in some of the main channels to get an idea of how things are going. While interesting, this is also a little aimless. By being able to search and see the history of different keywords laid out clearly related to projects I will be working on and my team itself, I could bring myself up to date and already see what has happened, almost like an efficient form of self-onboarding.

Want to learn more about the power of Augmentor, this timeline feature, and more? We’re happy to answer your questions and show you how it all works — send us a message at hello@augmentor.ai and we’ll get back to you soon!

Augmentor! A new way to effortlessly find what you need across mail, comms and planning tools – without just adding an extra tab.