Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

How to find the message count for a search result in Gmail

November 3, 2009

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Like I’ve said before, I’ve been on Twitter since November 2006 and I wanted to know the total number of followers my account has ever had. Even though I’ve only (and I say that with humility) got 1,700 followers currently – how many times has my account been “followed” over the last three years? Well, I have nearly every email notification that Twitter has sent me saved in Gmail and so I needed find out the number of “new follower notifications” that Twitter has sent me.

It turns out that this isn’t that easy to do. You have to “hack” the URL (in cases where you have tons of mail messages) to figure out the total message count for a search result. Here is how you do it.

  1. Do a search in Gmail. Don’t forget about operators, they increase the accuracy of search results many fold.
  2. If you only have a few pages to “page through” then simply find the last page. That will show you the total number of messages.
  3. If you have hundreds of pages then I suggest hacking the URL. Take the contents of the search box and append it to the URL in the following way. /#search/SEARCH BOX CONTENTS HERE/p50

The URL for Gmail varies if you use the regular, vanilla Gmail service or Google Apps. So that is why I didn’t simply link to an example search result. My URL isn’t the same as yours.

The “p50” in the above example URL is the current page of results that you’ll be on. You may start at 50 and go up until you find the last page. Or, you can start anywhere and increase or decrease the page number until you find it. On that page it will tell you the total message count for that search.

Oh, so how many times has my Twitter account been followed over the last 3 years? My best guess is a little over 10,000. Perhaps this shows just how much spam has been on Twitter. Or how boring I am.