Google Results By Date And Time

Category: Search-Engines

I'm doing some Google searches for news stories that happened several years ago. But all the top results are for the most current or most 'popular' pages on my keywords. Can I tell Google limit my search results to specific dates?

Google Date Search

How Do I Get Google Results By Date And Time?

When you search for something in Google, you normally have no idea how old the results are. The highest-ranked results may actually be quite obsolete because the longer a page is online the more links from other sites it tends to get, and that's one of Google's page-ranking criteria. Brand-new pages with fresh information - but no links - are buried deep in the later pages of your search results. There are other reasons to be concerned about the age of your Google results, too.

Sometimes the latest information is not what you want! For example, searching for "9/11" any time around 9/11 will pull up a myriad of memorial pages made annually. But if all you want are web pages that were made around 9/11/2001, you need to sift it out of all the other stuff. It would be lovely if Google let you find Web pages by their age, wouldn't it? Well, since May, 2009, you can come close.

Search for something on Google. On the results page, in the upper-left, you will see a generally unnoticed bit of text: "+ Show options". Click on that "Show options" link to reveal a list of ways you can narrow your results. See the "Any time" sub-list of options?

The "time" in question is the time when Google indexed a page. That is not the same as the time that the page was created or updated. There's no telling how long a page was online before Google found and indexed it. But it's the best we are going to get, and it's good enough. If it's not on Google it doesn't exist, right? Here are the standard time options:

"Recent results" – could be anything from a few seconds old to years. The deeper you go into the results, the longer it's been since they were indexed. "Past 24 hours", week, year are self-explanatory. Note that you can sort results by date, too. But I've been saving the best option for last! The "date range" option can be used to find things that have been indexed nearly as soon as they're indexed – within the past second, even!

Tweaking the Google Search Results URL

Do any search and open that time options menu. Look at the URL in your browser's address bar; for example:

Note the parameter qdr:d at the right end of the URL. Let's assume qdr means "query date range". Change the variable to the right of the colon as follows:

  • qdr:s = indexed in the past second
  • qdr:n = indexed in the past minute
  • qdr:h = indexed in the past hour
  • qdr:d = indexed in the past day

You get the idea... m = month; w = week; y = year. You can also say "within the past..." whatever by editing the results URL to something like "qdr:d3" The value d3 tells Google to display results indexed within the past 3 days. I'll leave it as an exercise to you to figure out other permutations.

One more quick thing on searching Google by dates. Check out the experimental News Timeline feature. You can enter a search query and a date, and the timeline will return news stories that happened on and around that date. You can adjust the set of newspapers, magazines and blogs that are included in the results. You can even tell it to look for other things instead of news stories. Options include News Quotes, News Videos, News Photos, Music, Movies, Books and lots of other media types. Play around with date-based searching, but give yourself permission to waste an hour or so. It can be addicting!

Got comments about searching Google by date? Post your thoughts below...

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Most recent comments on "Google Results By Date And Time"

Posted by:

17 Sep 2009

Thanks, Bob, for digging this out. You present some really helpful instructions!

Posted by:

18 Sep 2009

Yeah! I remember using a search engine way back when that sorted results by date and I really missed having it that way. Thanks for pointing this out.

Posted by:

Andy Barber
18 Sep 2009

I do like your regular news I get from you. Keep up the good work.

Saw a bloke in my local town, Bromley, South London, UK, wearing a T-shirt with "F**k Google. Ask Me" printed on it. I'd expect he would have got arrested in the USA though because it was the full four letter word!

Posted by:

23 Dec 2010

Hi Bob,

I have seen the qdr:y suggestion on many sites, including yours, but I haven't figured out how to streamline this. Can you streamline the instructions for dummies like me?

Say I'm searching for reviews of toshiba laptops. I put
review toshiba laptop
in my google search thingy in my browser. Now I don't want to do multiple clicks to limit the search to the past year (page down, more search tools, past year), and I don't want to edit the stuff google puts in the search bar. I tried
review toshiba laptop&tbs=qdr:y
but that didn't work.

Ideally I'd like to limit my search to the last year as my default, but be able to widen my search by doing something a little different, and ideally I'd like to continue using opera.

Hope you can help!

Posted by:

29 Jan 2013

I have also written a post on the same topic. Hope it helps the cause of the needful.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Google Results By Date And Time (Posted: 16 Sep 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved