How to Search Google in Near Real-Time

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-09-14 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

When Google added its search options feature in May, the company made it possible for users to narrow the time parameters of their search down to the past 24 hours.

Of course, some search engine snobs scoffed at this. Why search Google for info in the past 24 hours when you can search real-time search destinations such as Twitter, OneRiot, Collecta, CrowdEye, or Topsy?

The blogosphere is abuzz this morning with the discovery of a neat little hack every user can do to get Google results up to the minute. The discovery was made by Ran Geva, CEO of real-time search startup Omgili.

When users do a search in the past 24 hours, the results come with the code parameter "qdr.d." Geva deduced that this stood for "query data range" and tested his theory by changing the second "d" to "n" for minute and "s" for second. OK, I don't know why we wouldn't type in "m" instead of "n" to signify minute, but Geva's hack worked!

He searched on results for Barack Obama. Since I'm a professional football fan and the NFL kicked off yesterday, I decided to test this with my favorite football team. Here are the results on the New York Giants for the past 24 hours:

Google Giants 1.png

Then I changed the "d" to "n" (where n=minute) and saw results from the past 54 seconds and sooner:

Google Giants 2.png

This is awesome! Now, the second test, which if you looked at Geva's blog you know didn't pan out for him. That means Google search isn't doing real-time, yet, but it's got to be close. If it can do under a minute, or even past 30 seconds as Geva shows, it can do up to the second. Here I swapped out the "n" for an "s" (where s=second):

Google Giants 3.png

To search for results in the past 30 seconds, I added "30" to the end of the "s" to signify 30 seconds. Success!

Google Giants 4.png

So how close to real-time does this hack come? I next tried 10 seconds with this query: http://www.google.com/search?q=New%20York%20Giants&hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENUS268&output=search&tbs=qdr:s10&tbo=1 and saw nothing.

How about 20 seconds? http://www.google.com/search?q=New%20York%20Giants&hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENUS268&output=search&tbs=qdr:s20&tbo=1. Nothing, but it could just be that there wasn't anything to find for those parameters.

Now the important question: How soon before Google moves this from a cheap hack to a part of Google search for good, and down to the real-time one second goodness?

Read more coverage about this on TechMeme here.

 
 
 
 
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