Reddit announced today that it’s rolling out the ability to search comments, alongside a few other search-related features. With the new comment search function, users no longer have to click on several comments to find threads when looking for a particular conversation. You can now search for comments directly via a new “comments” tab in the search bar.
Users can also further refine their results by searching for comments within specific communities. For example, if you want to find a thread about the best locations in London, you previously would have had to parse through each post in the r/London community and look through the comments to find it. Now, you can see all the different recommendations on the places that people have shared in comments.
Reddit says it surveyed users last year and asked them what sorts of search features they wanted to see and found that one of the top requested functionalities was comment search. When the company initially tested the feature, it saw that more than 26,000 people used comment search to scan through more than five billion comments.
“With this latest update, for the first time in sixteen years everything on Reddit is now searchable – users, posts, communities, and now comments – making Reddit one of the first platforms with this capability,” Reddit said in a blog post.
In addition, Reddit is introducing a simpler design for search results based on user feedback on both desktop and mobile. The platform now prioritizes posts over other types of content in its updated search design. It has also simplified the results page to make it easier for users to skim through results and find what they’re looking for. Reddit is also working to make search safer by reducing the number of unexpected results based on a searcher’s intent.
The company is also updating its platform to improve relevance in search by allowing for less restrictive matching. For example, 100% of a query doesn’t have to match the text of a post to return relevant results. Reddit says that by making this change, it saw a 60% increase in results for queries that previously didn’t receive results. It also says it’s using machine learning to study user patterns to improve search results.
“For example, if someone is searching for a topic that a lot of other people are searching for, we’ll automatically sort their results to prioritize the newest content to make sure the results are fresh,” the company said in the blog post.
The new features are rolling out today. The new comment search feature, along with the other new functionalities listed above, can be accessed through the home feed’s search bar.
Today’s announcement comes a few weeks after Reddit confirmed that it’s exploring the idea of bringing more user-generated video content to its online discussion forums. Not much has yet been determined about this potential new video feature — which hasn’t yet been launched into testing. But we understand it may involve the use of TikTok-like video editing tools including, most notably, the ability for people to “react” to videos posted by others by adding their own video to another’s.