How to trick Google into Giving you Realtime Search.

As many of you will already be aware, with the Twitter deal going down the tubes Google realtime disappeared into the ether a while back. As Google build out their +1 service, undoubtedly it will make a return somewhere in the future for all of us.

There is however, the alternative – Google offer a way to filter time sensitive queries for information which has been found in the past hour. This feature is available in a tidy little menu down the left hand side of the search results. (see image below) However , considering that ALOT can happen on the web in an hour, that isn’t really all that useful.

If like me, you are bit curious to see exactly what Google are currently indexing in realtime at the minute, there is one neat little search hack you can perform – assuming of course you have some technical chops, and aren’t scared to fiddle around with your Google search URL.

I noticed earlier tonight when performing some searches on Google using this feature, that you can change some of the parameters sent back to Google to bring back fresher information.

The secret lies in this query parameter “&tbs=qdr” – QDR I assume stands for “Query defines Relevance

&tbs=qdr:h – this brings back information indexed in the past hour
&tbs=qdr:d – this brings back information indexed in the past day (24 hours)
&tbs=qdr:w – this brings back information indexed in the past week
&tbs=qdr:m- this brings back information indexed in the past month

and so on. Nothing magical about that..however, to get information which is fresher than an hour, you can do this directly in the browser

&tbs=qdr:n10 – this brings back information indexed in the past ten minutes
&tbs=qdr:s100 – this brings back information indexed in the past 100 seconds.

They don’t work for all queries, but you can still do site specific queries. It also works on Video and Image searches – which is awesome at finding recently released material on the web. Why they don’t integrate this into the main UI is a mystery to me.  At some point I might have a go at turning this hack into a browser plugin, but until then you’ll have to manually pop it into your search URLs. Hopefully worth the effort, at least until we get realtime search back.

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