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SWSL

Utilize Google to search my notes

Idea

One of my two biggest issues with Evernote is finding things.   It's kinda like using one of the older search engines before Google came out.    I often spend an undue amount of time searching, and then failing reforming my words, phrases, listing orders and often giving up and drilling down through various notebook stacks to find a note.    I know that many experienced users here are able to use EN search reliably but I have had very poor experience over the years.    I really depend on EN and wish it's search would work like Google and not be too literal,  give me useful sort orders etc.  More intelligent for average users versus programmers power users.  

So, given  that it's a quite mature product and there seems to be little interest in overhauling the search,  I wonder if there would be a way to use Google to search my EN database and as can be done with many websites and forums that also have (to me) inadequate or difficult to utilize search engines. 

I know that EN is not a webpage, so perhaps it's not possible to apply it's outside search to my personal database, but if it were, I would love the option to use  a different search engine.  Even if it's something else, just something designed differently than EN.    EN just does not yield the results much of the time. 

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57 minutes ago, SWSL said:

I wonder if there would be a way to use Google to search my EN database

There are privacy concerns here and I don't think Evernote is going to give Google access to our data.

You could export your own data and make it available.  
As backup, I maintain a full html export stored on a cloud drive.  I'm able to use the OS search features on this data

>>One of my two biggest issues with Evernote is finding things.   It's kinda like using one of the older search engines before Google came out. 

Evernote has an extensive search feature; documented at Evernote Search Grammar 
My process is to organize my data using the Tags feature.  It ensures quick and accurate access.
I also find intitle: text searches more useful than full content searches.  I make sure my note title includes all the important details

>>work like Google and not be too literal

The google search is impressive.  No matter how badly I mistype my request, it always come back with hits.

There's another request relating to tags and suggesting Evernote maintain a synonym database for searches.

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56 minutes ago, SWSL said:

One of my two biggest issues with Evernote is finding things.   It's kinda like using one of the older search engines before Google came out.    I often spend an undue amount of time searching, and then failing reforming my words, phrases, listing orders and often giving up and drilling down through various notebook stacks to find a note.    I know that many experienced users here are able to use EN search reliably but I have had very poor experience over the years.

If you could give us some examples of the search criteria you are using (that fails), perhaps we could offer some suggestions.

I have found the key to finding the Note(s) I want in Evernote come down to two basic things:

  1. Note Title -- be sure to use keywords that will help you later identify the note.
  2. Tags -- Make good use of Tags to classify/categorize your notes, especially where the Tag Name may not appear in the Note Title

Then, when you search:

  1. First try using a keyword you expect in the Note Title.
    1. It is best to use only part of the keyword, but with an * at the end
      1. This will help with spelling/typing errors and singular vs plural
  2. If you get too many results using the Title search, add one or more Tags to the search
  3. Sort on Date Updated if you thing it is recent Note
  4. OR, sort on other fields, like Title and Relevance

For example, I use a Tag of "Asset" on all of my major purchases, and enter the Brand and Model in the Title.  So my search criteria would be:
tag:asset intitle:mac

to find all of my Mac computers.  I could add "intitle:macbook*" or "intitle:imac*" to find specific models.

To make this really easy, I have Saved Searches that allow a type of "fill in the blank", like this:
tag:"Asset" intitle:

Note that I have nothing after "intitle:".  This causes Evernote to ignore this Search qualifier until I enter something there.  So, initially I get a list of all of my assets, and then if I type in "mac" at the end I get my Mac assets.

HTH.  Feel free to ask questions.

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2 hours ago, SWSL said:

I know that EN is not a webpage, so perhaps it's not possible to apply it's outside search to my personal database, but if it were, I would love the option to use  a different search engine.  Even if it's something else, just something designed differently than EN.    EN just does not yield the results much of the time. 

You might be interested in this: https://blog.evernote.com/blog/2010/09/30/evernote-chrome-extension-gets-simultaneous-search/. It's part of the Evernote web clipper. I can't say whether it works on non-Windows machines, or in other browsers.

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6 hours ago, jefito said:

You might be interested in this: https://blog.evernote.com/blog/2010/09/30/evernote-chrome-extension-gets-simultaneous-search/. It's part of the Evernote web clipper. I can't say whether it works on non-Windows machines, or in other browsers.

Thanks for the post.  I was totally wrong; Evernote has made our data available (I just felt a sudden chill)

Also I know on Apple devices, the Evernote search index is available for Spotlight to use.  This is local to the device

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1 hour ago, DTLow said:

Thanks for the post.  I was totally wrong; Evernote has made our data available (I just felt a sudden chill)

Will, this is part of the Evernote extension, so you need to be logged in to Evernote to use it. At a guess, it's just picking off the search text and submitting it to Evernote via its API, and then tacking those results onto the Google search results page locally. So it's unlikely that Google gets that data. But that's all based mostly on guesswork on my part, and I'd appreciate any  feedback from someone who knowledge who actually knows what's going on.

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Google search is really amazing, I agree. Allowing them to search your notes, however, is difficult for a lot of reasons, and is definitely not something we could do by default because of privacy concerns. I wish our search were as awesome as Google's, but keep in mind they have literally thousands of engineers working on it, and we have a search team of four (hopefully growing). However, the four of us are dedicated to working on Evernote's search, and there will be improvements coming.

@DTLow no, @jefito is correct. The clipper extension injects a javascript that creates an iframe that displays results from submitting to our server-side search.

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@rezecib I appreciate the clarification; probably everyone else does, too.

1 hour ago, rezecib said:

However, the four of us are dedicated to working on Evernote's search, and there will be improvements coming.

Oh goody! *evil hand-rubbing* Search language changes? Full Boolean searching? Notebook exclusions? Multiple notebook searching without using stacks? Regex? :) 

We can dream, right??

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2 hours ago, jefito said:

@rezecib I appreciate the clarification; probably everyone else does, too.

Oh goody! *evil hand-rubbing* Search language changes? Full Boolean searching? Notebook exclusions? Multiple notebook searching without using stacks? Regex? :) 

We can dream, right??

images.jpg.3a524e0706d283a1db0d668ab1c80f07.jpg

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22 hours ago, SWSL said:

One of my two biggest issues with Evernote is finding things.

Curious, what is your other biggest issue with Evernote?

As far as finding things goes, as suggested by others above, I also use tags heavily in my searches. Tags become better over time as they become a habit and you properly tag things. But I even find myself, adding tags to old notes as I come across them since my tags grow/evolve over time. 

My problem with search has been on iOS devices and when I don't use tags. But when I use tags in my search, I find the note I am looking for very quickly. There was one blog post one of the Evernote gurus about finding your note within 2 seconds (or something like that), you might want to look into that as well.

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17 hours ago, CalS said:

images.jpg.3a524e0706d283a1db0d668ab1c80f07.jpg

I speak for multitudes of Evernoters who have gone before me. 

And I just had a double espresso...

:) 

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@jefito Whoa, don't get too excited :P

Nothing is ripe enough yet for me to be able to talk about, but are in the general direction of trying to make search smarter.

Most of those require client-side changes (technically notebook exclusions, multiple notebooks, possibly full boolean searches are possible at some level of the backend, but clients do some sanitizing). The search team has limited control over clients.

Regex and things like it, while technically "possible", are incredibly expensive to compute. It's pretty easy to write regular expressions that scale exponentially. (note that we already almost always search terms with a final wildcard, so if you search "my bff jill" it actually searches "my* AND bff* AND jill*")

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36 minutes ago, rezecib said:

@jefito Whoa, don't get too excited :P

No fear, I just started with some of what's been requested for search since before I started hanging around here (which you're probably already aware of anyhow), and ran with it, too far as usual. :) I do understand that changes to search in the backend ripple throughout every client (since clients need to support the standard search language -- consistency of search results across clients is pretty important ), and also that clients can do stuff that the search language doesn't support (e.g. the select-child-tags search option/hack in the Windows client) but not all clients , but I was really just having a little fun with it. I do appreciate your comments and information here, and look forward to whatever you folks have in store for us.

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On 2/28/2018 at 8:35 AM, TK0047 said:

Curious, what is your other biggest issue with Evernote?

As far as finding things goes, as suggested by others above, I also use tags heavily in my searches. Tags become better over time as they become a habit and you properly tag things. But I even find myself, adding tags to old notes as I come across them since my tags grow/evolve over time. 

I just saw this thread again (missed getting notified) and realized I just sorta double posted a new similar suggestion.  Sorry, but it's got a more useful aspect also.   

Thanks for your suggestions, but I'm not ready to spend the time to tag everything and frankly don't have a good system for that.  Not my way of thinking.  Later, when I search, I can usually think of what tags but then that's contextual to my needs at the moment of searching. 

My other biggest issue in EN is dealing with copied "rich" or html  text in a note.  My favorite method is to gather info on the web by clipping key excerpts manually  and compiling my own note of many of these plus my own text.    I often find that the complex text is very difficult to edit later.  I wish there were an easier way to get in there and deal with it.  MS Word or even Wordpad work far better than EN in this sense.  

I understand that it's probably a big mess importing web clippings with all the formatting.  And my workaround is to sometimes cut and repaste as simplified, but often too much formatting is lost to make it usable.  

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3 hours ago, SWSL said:

My other biggest issue in EN is dealing with copied "rich" or html  text in a note.  My favorite method is to gather info on the web by clipping key excerpts manually  and compiling my own note of many of these plus my own text.    I often find that the complex text is very difficult to edit later.  I wish there were an easier way to get in there and deal with it.  MS Word or even Wordpad work far better than EN in this sense.

You're kind of hijacking your own topic here; you might consider making a separate request. Dealing with complex formatting from web clips (or copy/pastes) can be difficult since Evernote's editing tools aren't powerful enough to handle them: they don't handle line or column spacing, for example. If it's just text, I sometimes wind up just selecting and simplifying the formatting. And sometimes I just live with it.

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