16 years since launch, Reddit brings comment search to desktop but not mobile

Reddit’s comment search is now live globally on desktop. We’ve also summarized other user-facing improvements that Reddit has made to its search feature.

A screenshot of Reddit's overhauled search page on desktop showing matches from comments
Image credit: Reddit
  • Reddit has updated its search feature to index comments for the first time
  • Comment search may expose users to content outside regular posts
  • Before, you could only search posts, communities and users

Finally! You can now search across Reddit comments

Finding the right piece of information in a long, long Reddit thread is no longer a gargantuan task thanks to comment search. Reddit has now updated its search feature to index the billions of comments on the platform. Before you could search across posts, communities and specific users but you couldn’t get more specific than that. With comment search, you can pinpoint a place in a long thread where someone made a comment that matches your search criteria.

From a blog post on the Reddit website:

If someone wants to find a thread about the best locations in London, previously they would have to look through each post in the r/London community, browsing the comments to find it. Now, they can easily see all the different recommendations on the best places for high tea that people have shared in comments.

Comment search is available globally to all Reddit users through the desktop website. To access it, go to your home feed and click within the search bar, then conduct your search. The official Reddit apps currently don’t support the ability to search across comments, and Reddit has not made it clear whether comment search would eventually get implemented on mobile.

Less restrictive matching

On top of comment search, Reddit has refined the existing search features to allow for less restrictive matching. Also, your search queries can now contain typos because Reddit is no longer strict about finding matches using the exact keywords you provided. Read: How to view and delete your Google search history

According to the company, 100 percent of a query no longer has to match the text of a post to return relevant results. This has led to a 60 percent spike in results for queries that previously didn’t receive results.

For example, let’s say someone searches for “dogecoin stonks 2021,” and doesn’t find what they’re looking for because there isn’t an exact match; with our new treatment, they’re more likely to get related results (and more of them) than they would have before.

As a bonus, your queries should yield more relevant results than before because Reddit is now using additional signals such as post interactions and global users patterns. And last but not least, a redesigned search results page on desktop and mobile now uses a simple design and prioritize posts over other content types.

Why Reddit was dragging its feet with comment search

“At Reddit, one thing we think about every day is how we can make it easier for people to find and engage in communities, content and conversations,” the company said. That’s just standard press talk without substance. If you cared about user experience, you wouldn’t have waited until 2022 to introduce such basic functionality as the ability to search across comments.

“Over the past year, we’ve been steadily improving and updating our search experiences to support the millions of posts, communities and people that make up the platform, helping people find and engage in the topics that matter most to them,” Reddit continues. Okay, we’re withdrew our previous statement. Doing search properly is by no means a trivial undertaking. And with billions of comments to sift through, implementing comment search probably isn’t as simple as it seems.

You can download the Reddit app for free. [App Store link]