Searching using wildcards | webOS Nation

Searching using wildcards 14

by Adam Marks Mon, 06 Dec 2010 12:27 pm EST

Note that this only works on webOS 1.4.5 and below. This functionality appears to be disabled in webOS 2.0 and above

While searching for contacts in webOS is already an easy task using Universal Search and searching by a contact's initials, it can get even easier by using a wildcard in your search. By substituting one or more "%" in the beginning or middle of a search as a wildcard, you can perform even more complex searches. For example, searching for "w%os" finds "WebOS Internals", but also other contacts with a "w" and then an "os" later in the name. And just as Universal Search looks in a person's nickname and company name, these wildcards can also be used to search those, so searching for "%Experts" would return anyone with "Smartphone Experts" as their company. Unfortunately, it only appears to search for contacts within Universal Search, and not apps, but this functionality is usually somewhat consistent across the rest of webOS. Keep reading after the break to see how this differs in various areas of the OS.

Email (contact search): Searching for a contact works exactly the same as described above. Here is an example that utilizes multiple wildcard characters to find "webOS Internals" again


Messaging: Wildcards do not appear to work in the messaging app. The same "w%os" search used above returns no results here

Email (email search) / Memos / Tasks / Browser search: Most instances of the "Just Type" search feature that is included while searching within emails, memos, tasks or the browser also support the wildcard feature. Here are just two examples of searching within the email app and memo app.

Have you found any other apps that accept the use of wildcards in searches? Has anyone found any other wildcards that work?

Thanks to Hans J. Rauscher for finding and suggesting this Tip

Your rating: None Average: 5 (7 votes)


"Note that this only works on webOS 1.4.5 and below. This functionality appears to be disabled in webOS 2.0 and above"

So this will only work for 99.2% of webOS users. I can live with that I guess.

But it won't work on future devices. That's disappointing.

See below. Likely an easily exploited security flaw that was fixed in 2.0.

What we need now is text search within a web page in the browser.

great tip! I've been wishing for an easier way to search actually!
aside-is it just me that images don't show up in the PC app? Makes all the examples above useless, esp as there's no alt txt showing up either describing what I shoulda been looking at. Boo.

Wow, I honestly didn't know about this at all. Awesome, thanks guys.

no images in P/C webOS app for me either today for this article...

Doesn't look like a fault with the P/C app, rather thw mobile site

I would suppose using % as a wildcard means it's in the SQL statements, and not a "feature". Which probably means this is a hole for SQL injection, which makes sense for it to be plugged.

Indeed. I didn't see your comment before responding to the post below mine. Come on, Palm developers!! This is a basic well-known no no!

Ugh, %
How about * like most of the computing world is used to?

It's likely that way because it is a sql query. Oh my. That makes me wonder. Are they REALLY sending unchecked input like this? This seems like it could be exploited, if so.

Kudos for finally making the tips worthwhile. I was tired of seeing things that are obvious, and things that most people learned about in their first 5 minutes with the phone.

Keep hidden treasures like this coming, please.

Maybe the best tip until now. Security risk or not (I suppose someone should have physical contact with my phone in order to exploit that?) it is great feature...or bug!