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GPF Basics: Search for the answer to your question in the Google Product Forums

March 2019: The Google help forums are in the process of moving to a new platform integrated with the Google Help Centers. These instructions no longer apply.

Looking for help with a Google product or service such as Blogger, Gmail or YouTube? Check the official Google Product Help Forum for answers!

Your first step is to find the right Google product help forum.  You will have to join the forum to post a topic, but you may find your question has already been answered.

You can just dive in and post a new topic of your own - but if you'd like to become more effective in finding answers to your questions, read on!

GPF Basics: getting around the Google Product Forums

1. Find the right google product help forum!
2. Join the forum and configure your membership and email settings

>> 3. Search the forum 
  • View pinned topics
  • Search for posts in a category
  • Search for terms, keywords or error messages
  • Sort search results by Relevance or Date
  • Spot "Answered" questions
  • Focus on expert answers (or, "what do those badges mean?")
4. Reply to a topic
5. Post a new topic of you own 
6. Find your discussions

Enjoy answering questions? You might be interested in Google Top Contributor Program!

Also stay tuned for my next series of posts: GPF: Advanced features

View Pinned Posts

Important forum topics are pinned to the top of the forum. These may include:
  • new feature announcements
  • reports of know issues
  • requests for feedback
Check the pinned topics first!

1. Open the Google Product Forum for the product or service you are using.

2. Pinned topics are at the top of the forum. The most recently updated topic is at the top of the list.

Pinned topics in the YouTube help forum

Note: only 3 or 4 pinned topics will display by default. You need to expand the pinned topic list to see the entire list. 

3. Move your mouse over the list and click the down arrow to display the entire list

Note: you won't see the option to expand the list until you move your mouse over the list.

View Posts by Category

Each forum post may be linked to one or more categories.

Note: not every topic will have an associated Category. Some forums do not require a Category be added, and the mobile version of the forums allows posting without a Category.

To view all topics in a category:

1. Scroll past the list of Pinned forum topics (see above)

2. Click "Discussion categories" on the top left above the forum topic list.

A list of Categories for the forum will appear

3. Select one or more Categories and click "Search".

Note: If you select more than one Category, the search results will only display topics labeled with all selected Categories

Note: If there are many Categories, you will have to scroll down to view them all

4. Sort the search results by Relevance or Date

Click Sort to change the sort order from Relevance to Date (and vice versa)

Note: make sure the posts are sorted by "Date" to avoid viewing outdated topics

Tip: bookmark the search results page to come back to that search

Search the Forum

You can also search the forum for keywords, the error message you are seeing or other terms to find relevant topics.

1. Enter the search term in the search box at the top of the forum

Type your search terms in the box, then select from the search list or click the blue search button.

2. After the search results load, sort the posts by Relevance or Date

Note: make sure the posts are sorted by "Date" to avoid viewing outdated topics

3. Click "Category" to limit your search results to a specific Category 

Answered Questions

Topics with a reply marked Best Answer will have a blue Answered badge in the search results.

Note: when you view a topic discussion, the reply marked "Best Answer" will display immediately below the original topic AND in its original position in the topic discussion.

Focus on expert answers (or "what do those badges mean?")

Forum experts - Google Employees, Top Contributors, and Risings Stars - will have a badge. Note that Top Contributors and Rising Stars are not Google Employees.

When an expert answers a question, one or more expert badges will appear next to the topic in the search results:

"Compact" search results display expert badges (a Googler and a Top Contributor replied to the topic)

When the search results are displayed in "Expanded" mode, the Experts' avatars also display.

Same post in search results in "Expanded" view. The Experts' avatars display with a badge.

Google Product Forum Badges

Google Employees 
Top Contributors : "Some of the most knowledgeable and active forum participants"
Top Contributor alumni: Past Top Contributors
Rising Stars: "Up-and-comers who are newer to the forums and/or developing their product knowledge"
 Google Experts: "Google partners who share their expertise"

Learn more about Google Product Form Badges and Levels


  1. Put my sd card in chrome book three times, it does something each time. Once I got to look at thumb nails and then the screen disappears and I don't know where to locate, or get to, my photos. I repeated putting in sd card just to get to photos, but again they disappear before I can see many.

    1. Hi Wayne, I recommend you ask your question in the official Google Photos help forum!forum/photos


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