Search function?

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What about a search similar to the Google reader one?
Being able to parse all your feed in search of a single word could be great!
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dukkokun

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Posted 7 years ago

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Jan Altmann

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The lack of the search function makes Newsblur worthless for me. I wasn't clear when purchasing the premium option.

I have lots of feeds and news I would like to sort and filter.

Your "intelligence" does not help at all because:
1. You can only filter key words in the headline and not in the text of the news; and
2. The key word filters are attached to each feed and not to the overall collection of articles
Correct me if I'm wrong.

Using ReadKit doesn't help very much because their search functions are not complex enough (and slow for this volume I am using the reader for).

Currently I am using Netnewswire as a native OSX app which features all the above mentioned except for ongoing feed updates.

Newsblur has some very good ideas and functions built in, but it doesn't solve my problems. 24 USD for nothing. Shame.
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Kilna Anthony

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If Google could provide this for free for 8 years, surely the smart folks at NewsBlur could spin up a big data cluster and figure out how to make this work for paying clients. Heck, I'd pay twice as much as I'm currently paying NB for a premium service which allowed me to search feeds I'd subscribed to.
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Carol

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I feel the same way... I'm a premium user and it is worthless for me without a search engine.
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Neil

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Have you explored Training? It's actually more powerful than search in some respects because it's essentially a passive search mechanism once you set it up. The trick is to not rely only on the auto-generated tags. Instead, create your own tags too. For example, let's say you only want to read product reviews in the Engadget feed. Just select the word "review" in the title of a product review and then you can just "Focus" on the reviews.
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wujj123456

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Please bring full search across all feeds. I use search usually to dig up something i've read to give it to others. Per-feed search probably won't help at all. For server loads, I think it's fair to block free users from intensive operations.

No one searches his feeds all the time. However, when he/she needs it, it usually means that piece of information is important for him now. Saved stories might catch some of these situations, but you won't know ahead of time what might be useful several days later.
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Ross

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This is exactly how I feel, and how would use search as well: something I know I've read in the past but want to find again for my own benefit or to share with others. I often don't remember what feed it came from, or if I shared it or not.

If search ended up being limited to just shared items, I would basically end up sharing everything even remotely interesting so I could have assurance I'd be able to find it in the future.
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Kilna Anthony

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Searching only for things I designate as interesting in the past is pointless to how I use the product.

If I want to see what my feeds have said about a topic that just came acrossmy radar recently, searching starred posts is useless. If I want to search my deal sites for a something I just discovered I need, searching flagged posts is of no use. If I remembered reading about something, but don't remember where, and I didn't find it interesting enough to flag at the time... I'm out of luck. I'm sure searching for starred, bookmarked, whatever posts is useful to others, but not really for me.

Search is good at broad, fuzzy information discovery. Limiting it to stuff I have already categorized is kind of beside the point. If I already categorized it, I wouldn't really need search, unless I categorized more things than I can reasonably sift through, which would be contrary to the point of categorization.
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ireuben

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Have you considered http://www.elasticsearch.org/ to implement search?

Full feed search is main missing feature in Newsblur for me. My use case is that I read something, and then a few days later I want to refer someone else to it, but it can be incredible hard to find (don't remember what day I read it, or which feed). Searching only saved articles wouldn't be helpful to me, as I never save articles (though perhaps I'd start saving articles if it's something I'm even mildly interested in, just to make sure I could search them later).
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Kilna Anthony

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Another option is Apache Pig + Hadoop. Big data isn't as hard as it used to be.
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Ross

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The more I have switched everything over to Newsblur (starting with just a few feeds but for the last couple of months, have everything I read in it), the more I realize just how much search is necessary. I read 100+ articles a day from probably 50+ feeds (these are just the new articles that come in...I have triple that number for total feeds), and I'm sure I'm there are many whose statistics are much more compelling than mine.

The point I'm trying to make is that it is unfeasible to go back and look for an article a week or so later when I'm trying to remember it. My reader isn't just a "read and forget" place to get all my info; it's very much a "memory bank" that I want to retrieve from. And judging by all the comments/interest in this topic, I'm sure I'm not alone.
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Kilna Anthony

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^^^ What he said.
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James Gysin

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Search is critical to power users. And when many free alternatives to NewsBlur offer search capabilities that are not available to paying users of NewsBlur, something is very wrong. I would upgrade to premium for this functionality, but I won't pay anything to *not* have it.
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Kilna Anthony

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C'mon NewsBlur, Feedspot is eating your lunch on this issue. :)
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Tim Williamson

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I have not used the service you linked to above, but this is exactly what I predicted in an above post. If NewsBlur does not enable this feature, a competitor will (and appears like they might have).
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James Gysin

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I've been giving *six* options a test run while I try to decide on one, and NewsBlur is the *only* one of the six that doesn't have search, and the other five are all freebies. This is why I don't understand why this is such a challenge. After all, if it is that complicated to set up, then why do so many other free options already offer it?
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Neil

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It's called priorities. Samuel wisely spent the last few months beefing up the infrastructure. Have you noticed that NewsBlur is almost instantaneous? Obviously, there's something about NewsBlur you like or else you wouldn't bother complaining and instead switch to one of the free services. I myself would like some features but I voice them in a friendly tone and in the meantime am sticking with NewsBlur because of its founder and because it has venture capital, which all of the other services will need whether they know it or not. Google Reader gave advanced notice. That won't happen when some of the startups go belly up in 6-12 months.
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Tim Williamson

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I don't feel that anyone is unfairly complaining in this thread. I like NewsBlur, and am a premium subscriber, but that does mean I cannot offer constructive feedback on features which I (as a paying customer and power-user) consider to be of the utmost importance in this type of service. I think many others in this thread feel the same way, and based on replies, this appears to be the feature that a large portion of users would like at the top of the priority list.

I don't believe that any premium subscriber would disagree that the architecture upgrades were the top priority. I feel the opinion (at least in this thread) is that the "power user" group would like the search functionality to be the next feature in-line.
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Neil

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I think some of the comments in this thread have an unnecessarily nasty tone. Our company has three accounts so does that make us triple power users? We'd like multiple account logins as the next feature but that seems unlikely.

Also, maybe I'm crazy but $24 per year seems too little for — let's face it — a niche application that average consumers will never use. I consider NewsBlur more like a B2B application. We use it for our jobs. I get that many prosumers (myself included) also use RSS but prosumers have always paid more whether it's cameras, cars, etc. Currently, there's a land grab for customers. When the dust settles, I expect higher prices for these services.

For the record, I also miss search, agree that a search function should enable you to choose from everything, a folder, one feed, or your saved items.
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Tim Williamson

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When the dust settles, I suspect the price will rise as well. I would also be willing to pay a higher (to a point) subscription fee for NewsBlur if it were able to incorporate a fully operational "Google Reader" style search.
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Kilna Anthony

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I think the perhaps-a-little indignant tone here is associated with how fundamental this issue is compared to any other. It's about double it's nearest competing feature on this board.

I did honestly buy your product thinking there would be search, since this product was touted everywhere as a substitute for Google Reader. So I felt a little shafted. A substitute for a Google product, without search, is no substitute. Yes, it's my bad for buying a product based on an assumption, but at the same time you might be able to understand the frustration since the assumption was reasonable (at least to the 100+ people who voted on this thread).
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ireuben

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I've been using NewsBlur (and paid for subscription) because it was one of the first alternatives to Reader I tried and I like it, but I'm now trying others because of the lack of search. Just paid for Feedspot, and have been using it so far today.

I don't feel entitled to anything or demand that Samuel adds features I want, but (as a software developer myself) I hope Samuel appreciates his users telling him why they are switching to other products. Much better than just silently disappearing without him knowing why! The reason I'm even saying anything is because I like NewsBlur and would prefer to keep using it, if it had search.
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Ross

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Well worded, and I fully agree. Sadly I'm also looking at other options (ironically enough, Feedspot as well) but if/when search is added to NB (across all items; searching just saved items isn't really a huge help to me), I'd come back. I paid for a membership here and would love to use it!
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xref

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Samuel should be praised/killed for his failure/success at implementing [feature] which is a major/minor issue to EVERYBODY'S/my workflow. We/I am a free/paying customer and will be trying other/sticking with Newsblur because of this addition/omission. Thank you/F-yourself Samuel!
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Ken

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I needed search of my saved items (1100+) today. Really missed it. Seems like a nice to have until you need it and then }[##{*{+}{#>|€ !

Searching of feeds is nice ... If you have the NSA, oops I mean Google's, infrastructure. Searching saved items is the 90% case, at least for those of us who save items. Please, I am begging you.
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Ken

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OK, now that I am done being angry that I couldn't get my work done, let me put this another way.

What, precisely, is the point of "Save this Story" if there is no search to find a particular saved story when you want it? If it's merely "save so I can read it later today", then OK, but that is surely not the only thing folks save stories for.

Look, if it weren't for the complexities of managing a wide variety of feed formats and parsing them, I would be writing my own reader. Newsblur handles that stuff ... the real hard part ... very well. Thanks for that. The rest of it is merely a data management and scale problem, including search.

If I were to write my own reader, the scale problem goes away ... I don't need a server farm for just my own stuff. Then I could also dump the useless "intelligence" feature and instead have very nice keyword tagging and full text search ... both are essential to the way I want to use an RSS reader.

I, too, feel foolish having paid for this thing and not looking close enough to find such a key mssing feature. Is it time to start looking again at other readers, or can we have an estimate of when we will get search?
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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Search for saved stories is coming soon. Everything has to get built in a way that I can maintain it for years, so I can't just ship lousy code.
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Neil

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I'm not a programmer but I write functional specifications and work with programmers to implement my vision. Having built search into one of our services, my understanding is that basic search is not difficult. The issue is that thanks to Google, people want relevancy, not just hits sorted by date, etc. Thus, I suspect the issue here is fiscal (licensing a relevancy search engine equivalent to Google's, which may require a Series A round) and/or engineering issues (beyond my pay grade). Regardless, not everyone here has search first on their wish list. First on my list is hiring someone away from Apple, Google, or somewhere else to work on user interface design, especially the iPad app. For example, every article should have a one-tap save icon to the left of the title and not require a menu drop-down. Second, multiple logins. So maybe the majority want search first but not everyone.
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Ken

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No, I disagree with your comments on relevancy. More often I know the word or phrase that I want to search for and a simple list of the saved items where that word is found (in the feed, not necessarily the full text) would be sufficient for most of my searches. Often google will promote things based on "relevancy" when all I wanted was a reverse chrono list. That's more often annoying than not. (A good reason to use DuckDuckGo or Yandex, btw.) If I wanted something fancier, I would probably use google on the web with some site hints to get their algorithms in play.

I agree completely with your GUI comments. Both iPad and Android interfaces could be better. I spent the last 5 days using those two exclusively (I am typing on a desktop now, thank heavens.) and I have to tell you that I was increasingly frustrated as time went on. The email integration is nice. The "page flip" to the browser view is nice. It should be easier to "open in the real browser" and other little things that continuous use reveals as irritating. Force the designers to use the iPad interface for a week, exclusively. If they don't commit suicide, they will bring back lots of good improvements.
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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Your expectations are out of alignment. This is a news reader, not a venture funded startup. I did the design of the iPad, just as I'm working on search on the backend. If you want a venture-funded news reader, you have a couple options, but they are free and we all know what free gets us. It sounds like you would be happier with a refund, which I am pleased to give.

And Neil, this is not basic search. There's hundreds of gigs of data, of which random parts change every single second (I fetch 70 feeds a second right now), and you need to re-index regularly. It is not a trivial problem and it makes your case weaker by implying that it is.
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Ken

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I should say also, by way of consolation, that I was more irritated by the Android Gmail app and the iPad Gmail and Google Maps app(s) than I was by NewsBlur. Some of my complaints stem from a common use case of mine ... copy a link, an image, or a block of text and email it to a group of people. There are problems getting such things out of Newsblur and even bigger problems getting them into the email client(s) on both iPad and Android, with iPad being the worse of the two. Email from Newsblur doesn't quite get it because it doesn't support groups, although remembering the last to: list is a nice feature. (I don't expect Newsblur to have groups, btw.) What I do expect is better cross-application support ... a fool's desire on the iPad, I know. It's intended as a data presentation device ... period. Thanks for your hard work on this. I can't imagine how you get any real work done answering all these threads.
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Adam Isacson

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I'd gladly pay US$10-15/month for the ability to search all my feeds, plus the ability to maintain a few "saved searches" for specific keywords. It'd even be OK if limited to the past 24 hours' unread items.
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Tim Williamson

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Would you pay $10-15/month over the existing cost of a premium subscription? Or are you currently a free user?
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Knic Pfost

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Samuel, you've got a great product.

And I'm sure you've got some plans to implement some kind of search in the future. Maybe it will only search "saved" items. Maybe all "read" items. Maybe only titles, or maybe full text.

I don't know, but I feel confident you've got something up your sleeve, and are fully aware that many users that are going to engage with your product the most are the ones that desire a search function.

Personally, I'd rather have a limited service that works well than one that buckles under the weight of trying to be "all things to all people".

I guess I felt the need to weigh in because this story keeps popping up on the "Community Feedback" section of the Newsblur home, and I know that's only going to continue happening, and I wanted there to be something positive in here.

Just know that some of us are happy with the service we have, and are totally willing to wait for the inevitable improvements you'll be making in the long-term. I'm settled into Newsblur and can't wait to see how this service grows over time.

much love,
knic
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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Knic, thanks for your feedback. I've been running NewsBlur for four years now, so I know that vocal users do not necessarily represent the majority opinion. Search is an important feature, and I plan to support search for saved and shared stories soon. That being said, I am also more than happy to offer full refunds to any users who find that NewsBlur does not meet their needs. They paid for the service as it stands today, not for future features that I may or may not plan on implementing.

While I don't particularly like it when users say they represent the silent majority (because from my experience, it isn't true), I know that they are just showing their love for NewsBlur and it's up to me to distill the message into a vote for or against a feature or change. This is a long-term game and I'm planning on hitting more and more of my priorities as I go along. It just takes some time.
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Knic Pfost

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well said sir!
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Ross

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Do you mind if I ask what your tentative timeframe on releasing the saved/shared search feature might be? And if enhancing that search to all items in the future is on your list at some point in the future?
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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I have no plans for all items, although it's on my future priority list. Saved and shared are coming up soon. I'm working on support all this week, iOS 7 and offline for iOS next week, and possibly starting search sometime next week. But I'll warn you, this will be the fourth time I've attempted to build search. The first three times I failed. Interestingly, I still have the search UI (turned on only for admin) and it works just fine. It's just searching an empty database. So at least the front-end is built. But the backend has always been the hard part.
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Carol

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I'm a premium user and I'm feeling very frustrated. It is worthless without a search engine.
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William Pietri

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Glad to hear this is on your mind. I would be happy just to see steps in this direction.

For example, just being able to type in the name of a site so I can find the feed for it would be great. I have hundreds of feeds, so scrolling through looking for the one I'm after is a pain. Even better if this were an autocomplete thing.

After that, indexing post metadata would be a great next step. Just titles and authors would be hugely useful.
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karen

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You can actually do this already! hitting G will bring up the site search and will filter your feeds as you type
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Ray F

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Being a heavy RSS user for years and now a premium user here, I can say that the search feature as useful as it sounds I seldom remember ever using it on Google Reader for anything other than my "Saved" stories.

Saved stories are the ones we tend to focus on,and if we are power users we keep them organized and available if needed. I personally am excited about search for "saved articles"
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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It's there right now. I shipped it a couple months ago.
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Andy Weaver

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Any chance of a one click way to mark-as-read the results of a feed search? Often want to use this to filter out entries on certain subjects in a 300+ items per day feed. At the moment this means 'reading' each individual entry
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Adam Ryan

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Any update on the search feature, especially on mobile? I used this extensively on greader.
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roguegeek

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This has been an essential piece of functionality that has been missing for the entirety of the product's life and screamed about for over two years now by its PAID users. With no signs of any movement from the developer, replies from them that suggest it is not a priority to put it in (saved search is not a solution), and not being able to commit to a timeline, it's time for anyone who is looking for an RSS aggregator with search functionality to move on from NewsBlur. I have. Feedly listened to this request and put it in months ago and it works gloriously. My recommendation is head that way.
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Carol H Tucker

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This thread is pretty old -- but it is exactly what I wanted to ask about. I have an offer for a free year of Feedspot Beta and I have to admit I am tempted even though I like NewsBlur soley because there are times when I want to search for older items
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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Search has launched, it's at the top right of the web app. As for Feedspot, they're notorious spammers. They've been booted out of the alternative.to feed reader listings because of their dirty practices. If you choose to move there, just beware of their shady tactics.
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Carol H Tucker

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I have been with you all since GReader was pulled....

No there is no search bar at the top of my Newsblur window -- there is the ability to search for a site or for a person further down on the page but nowhere that I can put in a search term such as "arcade" and find all the posts that reference that
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Ken

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Not seeing it either. Allowed all in NoScript. Hard reloaded. Still not there.
Perhaps you need to explain what you mean.
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Hampus

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ireuben

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You have to go into a specific feed first, and then the search is available (and only searches within that feed, and only the titles as far as I can tell). Unfortunately not really useful to me. =/
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Ken

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I agree with ireuben. Perhaps it's a good start. I have 140+ feeds. Often the BIG problem that I want to solve with search is that I cannot remember which feed had the particular story I remember and want to go back to. There is no way that I can, or want to, cycle through all my feeds searching on each one to find what I am looking for. For starters, I show only feeds with unread items, so to begin that process, I have to reload my left nav bar with all feeds. Not happy.
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Ross

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I've been a paying customer since Google Reader was terminated. While I like NewsBlur, I had hoped that my desire for search would lessen as time went on. However, I've found that I still read enough (155 feeds, looking at every article that comes through) and there are things I remember reading and want to recall and find the article again. Saving everything so it is searchable isn't really an option.

My clunky workaround is to make sure everything is marked as read (or if I know I still want to read it later, mark it as saved temporarily), toggle to show "all" articles instead of just "unread," scroll down through all my articles until a bunch have been loaded into the browser, and then use my browser's search to find it. It's a horrible solution. But when one has enough feeds and reads enough (and wouldn't know what feed or even what tag/folder the article might have come from), it's really all I have.

I guess it's a sad truth but I've found Newsblur to be one of the best readers since Google Reader. If something better comes along that has search, I'll switch...because search is a pretty big priority for me. But I'd much rather have Newsblur add this feature to make it a solid and all-around great product.
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roguegeek

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When Google Reader went down, like many others, I immediately started a search for a new aggregator and after testing many out there, I found NewsBlur to be the closest to address my needs, so I purchased a premium account. Now I did this knowing search was going to be a big deal and was hoping the push from community would possibly fast track this functionality. Of course, there were no guarantees, but I decided to extend a little bit of good faith and take on the risks. To date, the gamble hasn't paid off, but I'm accountable for that.

What does upset me is the blanket claim that search is now in NewsBlur because that is just flat out deceiving. You know what people are asking for when the topic is brought up and the current implementation does not fulfill those needs. Based on this and the fact that this topic is 3 years old with absolutely no movement on it, I will not be renewing my premium subscription.

I don't like being someone who just talks about a problem and walks away. I want to offer some countermeasures as well. For people who consider real search a priority function, I feel good about suggesting Feedly now. A year ago when I did my original analysis, no way. They were one of the worst, but I also saw them having active discussions with their community and that, in turn, made me hop on a lifetime membership when it became available for a couple of short hours. I'm all about giving people changes and that gamble definitely paid off because they've come an extremely long way. Not only does the search actually work now, but it's fairly snappy. Nothing out there is Google Reader good, but for my money, Feedly now comes the closest.
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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Roguegeek, your comment inspired me to go back and take a look at making search work across feeds. Good news is that I finally cracked it (after many attempts). I'm going to work on getting it out soon. I'll be blogging it as well. It may take a week before it launches, but I'm starting to demo it now.
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Ross

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That is fantastic news. I'll gladly point to dev.newsblur.com and use it if you're going to throw it there before a main release.
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jonreedmobile

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Samuel first off thanks doing your part for the best newsreader on the market, bar none.

I really appreciate the feed-specific search and searching across feeds is going to be even more powerful.

One more search request: on a feed with a number of items (such as the saved folder), I really could use a two keyword search to easily locate things.

Example I have a lot of tech stuff so the search team "cloud" generates a ton of results. If I could have an open text option to include one other word, such as "cloud Microsoft" to generate results with both Microsoft and cloud in them, that would be very powerful for me, and I suspect for others who have a lot of feeds and items.

Note I am not asking for all variations of Boolean perfection here, as I realize each takes time and is resource intensive. But one additional term would be awesome. Or - a search within results option which would accomplish the same thing.
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Jamison Bosco

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So for searching within my feeds, the workaround I've done is created a google custom search and added all my feeds to that. That way I get full text search via the goodness of google.