Understanding a Google query URL

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May 13, 2009

Well Google gives a lot more options for filtering your search results. Like if you want to look for the definition or meaning of a certain word, you need not go to dictionary.com and search for the word. You can get your meaning with the query, “define:word” in Google. Or you can find all the pages in a site with the query, “site:yoursite.com”. But do you know that besides these simple tricks, you can also get desired results by modifying the Google Query URL that it returns after a query. Like if you search for “black guitars”, your URL will something like this
http://www.google.com/search?num=10&hl=en&q=%22black+guitars%22
We need to understand the elements that come after /search?. num=10 denotes the number of search results that are included in the page. You can change this number to anything from 1 to 100. If you want to have 100 items in each page of the search result, you can simply change this number to 100 without having to go over to the Google’s Preferences page.
Now the next is hl=en. This denotes the language in which your search is being performed. If you change it from en to fr, you results show up in French. You can find the list of languages in Google’s Language Tools page. If you include multiple &h1 modifiers in the Google Query URL, Google considers the one that comes last. So, if you want your results in another language, you can just add the language acronym at the end.
The URL discussed above is returned without setting any preferences for Safe Search. If you turn on the safe search from the preferences, your URL will look something like this:
http://www.google.com/search?num=10&hl=en&safe=on&q=%22black+guitars%22
You can simply turn off safe search by changing safe=on to safe=off. If you need to add any such parameter you should append it just after the previous one with & symbol.
You can also filter your results in terms of time. If you add &as_qdr=d to the Google’s URL, you will get the results from the Past 24 hours. For this case, the Google Query URL should look like this:
http://www.google.com/search?num=10&hl=en&safe=on&q=%22black+guitars%22

If you add &as_qdr=m, you’ll get results updated in the last month. For &as_qdr=y, you will get results from the last year.
But if you want to get results from the past two months, you’ll need to modify it a bit. If you want results from the past 2 months, append as_qdr=m2 to the Google query URL. Here 2 denotes the age of the results in months and you can replace it with anything from 1 to 12(each number denoting respective months).
These simple tricks of modifying the Google Query URL can be really helpful to obtain better results quickly and effectively without going to the Advanced Search settings or Preferences page.

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