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How GNOME Shell Search Is Improving

GNOME Shell search results will look much improved in GNOME 3.26, due for stable release in early September.

GNOME developer Rares Visalom details work he’s done to refine GNOME Shell search results as part of this year’s Google Summer of Code in a new blog post, and as you’ll see in the images below, the results speak for themselves.

Here’s what the current GNOME Shell search page looks like in GNOME 3.24:

It’s not terrible, is it? But if we were to be critical of it we could say that it doesn’t make the best use of screen space, has a few alignment issues, and (from experience) doesn’t work great on lower resolution displays.

Now here’s what the same page looks like in GNOME 3.26:

gnome shell search results page in gnome 3.26

Instantly you can see there are more results on screen — but mercifully things don’t look cluttered or overfilled.

And that is a tough balancing act to achieve; show too many results and the page becomes dense, making it hard for users to find what they’re looking for. But show too few results  or information and the page becomes useless.

Helping to improve the readability are new visible separators and text labels for each app (and associated results). This change in particular makes it far easier to see what specific results relate to (and thus what the search screen is trying to tell you about them).

Other tweaks include improved alignment of app icons, better placement of metadata snippets, and the use of ellipses to trail overly long descriptions.

Combined, these changes create a more cohesive, and much cleaner page.

On a related note, GNOME 3.26 will let you search for session actions through the overview — meaning you can easily keyboard smack your way to a reboot or power off:

gnome shell session actions

Both the refined search screen and the session actions are small changes, but ones that, in my opinion, will make a big difference.