Google Most Recent (Date Sorting) Searches

In the day and age where information gets out-dated on an almost weekly basis, I'm surprised that Google does not have a more intuitive default date-sorting or filtering of search results. By default Google will return you the most relevant results based on word counts, page-rank, incoming links, hit counts, and who knows what else, but last updated or published date does not seem to play any significant role in the algorithm.

Searching for almost anything to do with technology, if I see the page is dated 2007 or earlier, I don't even bother looking at it. What's the point of reading a list of top Ajax libraries in 2006 for example? Or a post about an upcoming release of Eclipse that's over 6 months old? Or the best digital cameras of 2005? For these things, date filtering is a must.

There are two ways to achieve this (without a personalized Google account at least). On the default www.google.com home-page, click on Advanced Search (in tiny font on the right), then click on date, usage rights, numeric range at the bottom, select a date from the drop-down, type your search string in the search box back at the top and click on the Advanced Search button back at the bottom. Now that seems like a lot of hassle compared to the type/press-enter default behavior.

An easier way to achieve the same thing is to search as normal, than on the results page click the Show options... link just above the results, and in the new navbar on the left, click on one of the date filter links. This is still a bit of a pain though, especially as the first search is useless if you know you want to filter by date from the very start.

It would be nice if Google put a date-filter box on the front page to allow for a simple type, click-date, press enter action path. This probably won't happen though as the Google philosophy is to keep the front page as simple as possible.

So, if Google won't do it, there's no reason why other's can't. Google allows searches through simple URL query strings, which means anyone can write their own front-end page, and indeed many have, including my very own.



Feel free to give it a try. Just type your query string in the search box as normal, select a date-filter option (past month by default) and click search. This will take you straight to the corresponding filtered results page, with the left navbar option pane open so that you can quickly refine your results if needed. Set this as your home-page and you're sweet to go!

Even better though, if you're using Google Chrome, you can change the behavior of the default search provider for the address bar to do the same thing, without having to go through a custom front-page. Do this by right-clicking the address bar, click Edit search engines, click Add, give it any name and keyword, e.g. Google Filter, and in the URL textbox paste http://www.google.com.au/search?&q=%s&hl=en&tbo=1&tbs=qdr:m. Click Ok, select the newly added provider in the list and click to make it your default. Now every time you type something in the address bar, Chrome will do a past-month filtered search and show you the results with the leftnav bar pane open!

Comments

  1. Good on you, Mate! Thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete

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