Universal Search – Contacts | webOS Nation

Universal Search – Contacts 28

by Adam Marks Tue, 06 Jul 2010 12:50 pm EDT

Universal search is an extremely powerful tool within webOS that allows you to access all kinds of data on your phone within a matter of seconds and from anywhere on your device. To access Universal Search, all you need to do is start typing on the keyboard while in the Launcher or while in Card View (to access card view while in an App, simply swipe up from the gesture area to minimize that app). To search for a Contact using Universal Search, webOS will search for contacts based on Name, Nickname and Company and provide all matches to your query. Continue reading after the break to learn the specifics of how to search for contacts and what options are available once you find your contact.

Sample Contact Profile To demonstrate Contact Universal Search, let's use this sample profile for Jon Rubinstein. To find this contact, we can search for "Jon Rubinstein" (Name), "Ruby" (Nickname), or "H/Palm" (Company). In addition, across the entire operating system, you can also search for a name by typing in "First Initial + Last Name", which would map to "jrubinstien". As you can see below, all 4 search terms will find Jon's profile. Note that you do not need to type in the entire search term, just the first few characters. Also, if your search was not specific enough and multiple contacts meet you criteria, you will be shown the name of all results, and just tap on the name to expand your options


Universal Search: jon rub search Universal Search: ruby search Universal Search: H/pal search Universal Search: jrub search

Universal Search will also look through all of the search-fields within all the Linked Contacts for a given contact, not just the Primary Profile. So, if you have a contact that has a linked listing from Facebook, Google Contacts and your Palm Profile, Universal Search will look through all 3 of those in the search, but will still only return the single linked contact. Note that some accounts like Facebook sometimes treat middle and last names a bit oddly which can affect your search results. Here is a good forum post on one way to combat this behavior.

Once you find a contact, you have 5 actions that you can take:
1. Tap on the Contact Name to open the Contact record
2. Tap on any phone number to call that number
3. Tap on the “SMS” icon to the right of the phone number to launch the Messaging App with a text message pre-populated to that number
4. Tap on any email address to launch a “New Email Message” card to send an email to that address
5. Tap on “Add Reminder…” to add a message that you will be notified about every time you email, SMS or talk to this person on the phone. Note that if a reminder has already been set, the reminder message will be listed here instead of “Add Reminder…”

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When will Palm make it possible to search throughout a contact record, i.e. the notes field? How many times do I not remember the name of a guy I met at CES years ago? If I could just type "CES" into 'Find' then all those contacts I noted that I met at CES would just pop up. This seems like a must have feature.

I'm sorry, but WebOS's so-called "Universal Search" is a joke compared to the old Palm OS. On all previous Palm and Handspring devices, universal search has brought results not just from name and company, but phone number, email, address, and notes. This was enormously useful when finding contact info located inside of notes.. whereas before I could have a companies entire roster listed in the notes under a single contact, now I have to have a separate contact for every employee. Also, if an unknown phone call was coming in, I could type the first 3 numbers and identify the caller before picking up. It's usefullness was seemingly unlimited, and now it just feels crippled and compromised. Basically, you're screwed if you can't remember their name (or company, if applicable). It used to be you were made as long as you could remember one thing about the contact, like a fragment of their email address, or that they live in Sunnyvale.

HPalm needs to seriously ramp up universal search in WebOS 2.0. I'd like to see:

1. In preferences, set universal search to give results for calendar, contacts, email, or any combination of the three. (check boxes).

2. Deep search into all text associated with each event or contact. Calendar and contacts should work more closely like a single app.

3. Smart text recognition of addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and URL's, and auto-link them to the appropriate app. (hotlinked in calendar as well.)

This is what I was expecting with "Synergy". At the very least, please restore previous functionality. The current search is somewhat useful, but any previous Palm owner should agree it's severely limited and counter-productive.

I totally agree with this. And the calendar is way too slow to be useful on the Pre.

I got a used Pre for cheap and am using it as my phone, but am sticking with my Centro as my PDA - it's so much better using the calendar application on that device that it's ridiculous how poor the Pre is as a datebook.

if you do homebrew, i highly recommend the 2 apps: Agenda & Quick Event. make the calender so much usable, and allows for search within the calendar

I checked them out, and if I used the calendar on the Pre, they would be quite useful. But right now the calendar is plain awful. There are so many things wrong and missing that I will not touch it. Here are just a few:

For one I have to wait close to 10 seconds to pull up a day if it hasn't been pre-loaded from the servers. Ridiculous. With my Centro it shows up almost instantly as I switch from day to day.

When I select the dates for repeating events, my only option is a list of numbers... what?! Show me a calendar view and I'll pick the day!

I need the ability to edit "this and future occurrences", not just "This Event Only" and "The Whole Series".

PalmOS Search searches all the data produced by ALL the apps on the device! I can find stuff in my outliner, my JFile databases and my Docs-to-go documents and spreadsheets in addition to the native PIM apps.

I'm not 'upgrading' from my Treo 680 until I get a true upgrade in productivity.

I agree that there should be a "search all" function, but I also remember when I had to do that PalmOS Search, it could take awhile, and if the app that you wanted was towards then end, I had to type "more" MANY MANY times... i must say that for 95% of my needs, Universal Search works perfect for me!

even though there are some drawbacks going to the Pre, i would NEVER be able to go back to my 755p... you dont know what you are missing!

Well, "synergy" searching should work at least like at PalmOS Agendus: contacts, phone numbers, emails, callendar notes etc. Now it's simply as cardfile in Windows 3.1 :(

Agree with those who came before me... Universal Search is misnamed. I love the Pre, and webOS, but Palm went way backwards on the search functionality. MAJOR bummer for me. Hope Palm, I mean HP, gets this message and acts on it.

I'm not a previous Palm OS user but I would agree with the previous comments.. I have issues finding someone even when I know their name o_O Ex. My friend Arron Wilson... I type Arr (I gets nothing) but when I type Wil (he's my 1st hit)

No biggie for me but if H/Palm plans to regain the corporate market with webOS, these search features need to be up to date..

Typing in "Arr" should get you his result. You can check to see if the contact is set up correctly by going into the Contact Record, choosing "edit", and then in the top-left drop down, choose "Name Details". If Arron is set up as the "first name" and Wilson is the "last name", then typing arr should work.. just checking, but his name isn't Aaron (2 "A"s, not 2 "R"s), instead of Arron, is it? (worth asking the question)

Same thing for me, but only with a few contacts... and I checked out the Name Details and everything's correct there... another weird "glitch" with the Pre. The other one being that the SMS app doesn't seem to like a few of my contacts as well. Won't allow SMS messaging!

One other thing that I was recently schooled on by another PreCentral member (sorry, don't remember who it was): you can just type the first name initial and last name initial and quickly get a list of anyone with those initials. Using it all the time now--seems quicker and I'm guessing it's because of the QWERTY configuration and my fingers or something....

Say what you want about the "Apple Fan Boys;" when we start posting about the benefits of Universal Search, you are swimming in the Cool-Aid!! Contact search is the number one reason I hate, hate, hate my Pre!!! What a huge a step backwards from the 755p. I know the contact is in there, but I can't remember enough spelling of the name to find it. HP + Palm: PHONE FIRST!!!!!! This is a from a 5+ yr member of this forum. The Pre sucks.

@ Adam thanx it was that. Preference was set to last name, first name.. I thought that if you set that from the contacts app it would apply to all contacts not individually.. Thanx again ;)

Your article states that WebOS will search for contacts based on Name, Nickname and Company. Actually it searches for contacts based on FirstName, LastName, Nickname and Company. The middle name is NOT included in the search.

Here's a solution for everyone. Allow the User to select what fields they want searched by specifying the Universal Search fields in Contact Preferences.

Instead of swiping up for cardview, just tap the gesture area. Palm added this in 1.4

Among other things, it prevents you from accidentally closing the app.

Instead of swiping up for cardview, just tap the gesture area. Palm added this in 1.4

Among other things, it prevents you from accidentally closing the app.

You forgot what (IMHO) is the most useful one -- initials!

In your example, typing "jr" should bring him up as well, with minimal keystrokes. This works in the contact app as well.

its there: "In addition, across the entire operating system, you can also search for a name by typing in "First Initial + Last Name", which would map to "jrubinstien".

I'm not used to the old PalmOS but I've been impressed enough with Universal Search. I often search for the nickname of someone (e.g., "Mom"). It's certainly a lot better than trying to remember what you put them under and then scrolling through the couple hundred contacts you had to manually enter with a 12-key pad.

I'm disappointed with the universal search. I'm not really a tech person.... but I do miss the search on my Palm TX. Especially when I wanted to check past calendar events. Sorry... But I still love my Pre. Keep the tips coming :)

for searching calendar, i really recommend Agenda (homebrew)... you can set start/end dates and it allows type-to-search

my search doesn't even work. i start typing and nothing or no one shows up, whether it be first name, last name, company...nothing. wonder if something from preware did something. DANG IT...any suggestions?

I agree with all that the "Universal Search" is far from Universal. I keep restaurants on my Pre (thanks to Yelp for making this easy!), but when I can't remember a name (where was that great oyster place we went to in SF?), I can't search by city to jog my memory. Palm, please help!

Submitted a request for new feature at Palm site several days ago. Agree with original post. Universal search is close to useless without option to search ALL fields in contacts, memos, calendar and tasks like the old Palm OS (I started with US Robotics Palm 1000)

I'm almost to the point of returning my Pre and going back to my Treo 650.

Also, when are we going to get an "undo" function?

Palm (I mean HP) ARE YOU LISTENING???? These are CRITICAL.

Has anyone found a patch? So far no luck with Preware, Homebrew etc..

Hey guys the universal search in WEB OS is really poor but remember that the reason why we were able to search the contacts in the Palm OS phones was due to 3er party applications like tealphone etc. Palm OS core applications never provided that kind of search capabilities.

That is the one and only reason why I have classic loaded in the PRE so I am able to search my contacts with tealphone.

What we really need is a 3rd party application which will allow WEB OS user to search the contact data base entirely regardless of were the info is store i.e. contact notes, phone number, last name etc.

good day
I have a pixi plus and wanted to know if there is any option to view contacts by category