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Product Direction - Global Search

Category Description
Code Search Search through all your code
Code Navigation Navigate through all your code


Thank you for visiting this direction page on Global Search in GitLab. This page belongs to the Global Search group of the Enablement stage.

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Finding anything in GitLab should be easy. If it’s easy users will be more likely to contribute as well as get more use out of what was already contributed.

Global Search is the core search feature for GitLab, as the one place to search for anything in GitLab. “Global” refers to the ability to search across the project, group, or instance level, as well as across content types. Users can search issues, merge requests, commits, epics, projects, wikis, comments, and users.

There are two modes Global Search can operate in, depending on the instance configuration:



2022 Goals FY23 / 12 month plan

Desired Results

Global Search Unique Monthly Users should grow at 5% MoM as we continue to see features and use cases enabled. If Monthly Users continue to grow this will be seen as a verification that we are delivering a good rate of growth. If we see this decline in a consistent fashion it could be seen as a sign that correction in direction is warranted.

Measuring Success - Target PI's / Metrics

We look at unique users per month, GMAU. Our goal is to grow this 5% each month.

We chronicled our journey of deploying Elasticsearch for through several blog posts.

Target Audience and Experience

Advanced Search is targeted at all personas who might use GitLab in Development Organizations with more than 10 Projects active.


Currently, GitLab's maturity for Search is "viable".

GitLab's current Advanced Search experience works for self-managed instances and across all Paid SaaS Experiances. UX Research, and SUS scores have shown a direct need improve specific aspects of the UI and functionality of search capabilites.

Moving Global Search to the Maturity stage "Complete" will require these changes.

What's Next & Why

We have added a live roadmap that will track the progress as we complete major epics. Global Search Roadmap

What is Not Planned right now

Currently there is not a plan to scale beyond the needs of Paid Groups on This means that while the ambition of the Search Group is to expand Advanced Search to all users of GitLab, we're not yet ready to move in that direction. We will continue to add features to Basic search as we can while evolving Advanced Search.

As GitLab continues to grow it will become important to keep growing with GitLab. One of these areas that Global search will have impact is in adding new content types. Currently, this includes adding Vulnerabilities, and Snippets.

We will also be Allow be planning to offer deeper integration across other list pages in Gitlab. Lucene based indexing allows for very fast return of structured lists there are several pages in GitLab that offer these list and it’s a continual improvement to improve the speed.

Increase the number of Self-Managed users, using Advanced Search. We are considering how to enable Advanced Search by default. We have already made Advanced Search part of SaaS for all paid users.

Competitive Landscape

Both GitHub and BitBucket provide a more comprehensive and complete search for users; particularly in their ability to deeply search code and surface those results to users.

There is a great need to improve the ability to search across repos for all competitors. This is commonly asked about from our prospective customers and is included in the comparison matrix for GitLab as well as the ROI calculator.

Feature GitLab SourceGraph GitHub BitBucket JIRA
Keyword Search
Search with keywords not specifying a field
Search Filters
Filters can reduce results to more specific results
NLP (Natural Language Processing)
Search uses Linguistic structure to improve matching
Language Code Filters
Search detects Code Language and allows filtering to a specific Language
No YES YES    
Search Diffs
Search returns results from previous versions
No YES No    
Commit message
Search by text used for the Commit message
Saved searches
The search with parameters can be saved and favorited to show later
No YES No    
Custom filter groupings
Combine filters and save them as a filter grouping
No YES No    
Keywords are recommended while you are typing
YES YES No    
Rank statistics
Results show a score variable between the results
No YES No    
Multiple Branches
Code search can show more than the main branch
No YES No    
Compare results
Result page allows you to compare a result to other results from other searches
No No No    
Results are shown from comments
YES No YES    
All Results
Results are shown across all scopes or types in one integrated result page
No YES No    
Keyboard Shortcuts
Search is quickly accessible for key commands
YES YES No    
ID Quick Search
Search Recognizes IDs and takes you directly to the item page
YES No No    
Search by SHA
Commit SHAs are recognized and you are directed to the sha instead of the results
YES No No    
File Search
Files and directories are identified and searchable not just the reference of a file listed in code
YES No YES    
Featurefull search is offered as part of the SaaS offering.
YES No YES    
Users can query search using APIs directly
YES No YES    
Issues are searchable
YES No YES    
Merge Request
Merge requests are searchable (not just the code
YES No YES    
Wikis are searchable
YES No Yes    
Epics are searchable
YES No No    
Security Vulnerability
Search results for vulnerabilites
No No No    
Snipets are searchable
No No No    
Batch Changes
Start batch changes from a result list
No YES No    
Search Across Groups
Search across groups, Global Search
Per seat license (avg)
Included $11 Included    

Top user issue(s)

Velocity will be decreased starting with 14.1 as we contiiune to focus on staffing the Global Search Group.

Top internal customer issue(s)

Velocity will be decreased starting with 14.1 as we contiiune to focus on staffing the Global Search Group.

Top Strategy Item(s)

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