Ask LH: Can I Force Google To Only Return Recent Results?

Ask LH: Can I Force Google To Only Return Recent Results?

Ask LH: Can I Force Google To Only Return Recent Results? Dear Lifehacker, I’ve also noticed Google results have become less useful but for a different reason. More and more often when I search for information I become frustrated as I’ll start reading about whatever I’m searching for before I realise that the info is 2 or 3 or 5 years old. These days information on a topic that’s even more than 12 months old is often outdated. I realise you can refine your results using the time options on the left hand side of the search results, but often I forget. Is there a way to have my default search results only return items from the past year? Thanks, Timely Manner

Dear Timely,

There’s a relatively straightforward way to solve this problem using one of our favourite technologies, keyword bookmarks, which let you search any given site using a keyword that you type into the address bar. We’ve explained in the past how to set these up for both Firefox and Chrome, so we won’t repeat all the details here.

Keyword bookmarks are often ignored for Google itself, since chances are that you’ve got Google set as your default search option and can access it via the browser search box instead. However, one advantage of using keyword bookmarks in conjunction with Google is that you can also set additional parameters, such as restricting your search results to a given time period.

To do this, just conduct a search for a single word on Google, restrict the results to the last year (or whatever time period you want), and then use the URL for that search page as the basis for setting up your bookmark (replacing the search term with the %s character used in keyword bookmarks to indicate what you’re searching for).

Granted, this won’t change the default behaviour of Google if you visit the site itself. However, setting up a single letter keyword for all your searches is a more efficient way of working anyway, especially if you use the Control-L keyboard shortcut to access the address bar.

Cheers Lifehacker

Lifehacker 101 is a weekly feature covering fundamental techniques that Lifehacker constantly refers to, explaining them step-by-step. Hey, we were all newbies once, right?


  • Um… this post doesn’t seem to actually tell you how to restrict results to a certain time period? Nor do the ones you linked to. Unless I managed to skip over them. Just how to make a keyword bookmark, which doesn’t seem to be particularly relevant at all. Feel free to prove me wrong though.

    Also, ctrl+l to get to the address bar? Why not just press F6?

  • This response completely avoids answering the Dorothy Dix you provided.

    In the left hand options list in the search results page is the ability to restrict by date e.g. Most Recent, Last 24 Hours, Last Week etc .(Sometimes hidden behind a “More options” link). This is a quick access to the date filter found on the advanced search options.

    I think the writer of this would be pretty terrible at Jeopardy! Because the question he came up with does not match the answer he had in mind for this article {:-P

  • 0 down vote
    Here is a partial but absolutely reliable solution which ensures the sidebar is fully expanded for each visit and doesn’t involve any scripting or the need to remember anything.

    It does require that Greasemonkey is installed as an add-on for Firefox (Chrome and IE have equivalents). The Greasemonkey addon is here ->

    You use a script which simply makes the refined options open automatically whenever you go to Google search whether manually or through the Firefox search bar. the userscript is “Google Always Show Search Options Sidebar / Menu” and is found here ->

    Just click install (as long as you have greasemonkey added on!)

  • Here’s how I did it in Firefox.

    Install the Add to Search Bar add-on.

    Go to Google, search for ‘a’ (or anything), then select on Past Year from the sidebar.

    Then, right-click and add it as a search engine using the new add-on.

    It now appears as a search engine you can choose in the search bar.

    Much better than using a bookmark or script.

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