Lesson 4.4: Left hand panel and date range limiting

Access Lesson 4.4 slides here


One of the important skills for a great Google searcher is to pay attention to the tools in the left hand side of the display. This lesson looks at a few that are available through Google.com.

(Please note: different countries have slightly different features available through the Left-hand panel, including some not available on Google.com. Check out which are used in your region.)

Figure: Click on the Search tools tab in the top menu (see red arrow below)  on a Google results page to get a larger list of search options.

In that menu you’ll see that there are options to change the kind of content you're looking at. You can click here to change to search images, maps, videos and more. Once you click on the “Search Tools” option, you can then do a number of different things, including filtering the search results by time.  

Today we're just going to explore limiting results by time. Try it out by looking into the laws involving fugu preparation.

Fugu is the kind of fish that is used in Japan for very high end sushi. Its preparation has been regulated because it is fatally poisonous if prepared incorrectly, and you might have heard that there have been some changes in the laws recently.

Figure: Search results for the query [laws fugu preparation].

If you click on Show search tools, you can now limit your search in time to results that were published during a particular time period. For example, you can look at just thepast month to see if there has been anything. You will see the blue bar appears at the top, indicating that you have restricted the results to only pages published during the past month.

Figure: Search results for [laws fugu preparation] that were published in the last month.

There are additional things you can do. You could, for example, limit to the past year or the past 24 hours. This is not quite the same as news, but it finds websites and web content that's been updated in the last 24 hours. You can define a custom range, too.

To get rid of this time restriction, click on Any time or click the X on the blue bar, which returns you to return to the general search.

Try another search to illustrate restricted search for [world cup 2022]. Imagine that you want to know what people were debating just before the host country for that World Cup tournament was annoucned. Specify a custom range by clicking Custom range …. Use the date selector tool to select a date, such as September 1, 2010. Type the end of the range, November 30, 2010. Now you're seeing results published on the web during the period when everyone was speculating which country would be chosen. This is a great way to be able to search news that was being published at a given time, too, and get a sense for what was going on then.

Figure: Results for the query [world cup 2022] with Custom range time restriction

So far you have only been searching the web. But notice that this date restriction also works for different kinds of results. So for example, if you click on News you will now see news about the 2022 World Cup from the time period just before the host was announced.

Another example of how you might use custom time searching involves combining it with operators. To take an example from near Google headquarters, try getting information about the fourteenth congressional district election in California. Maybe just the results from 2011.

Figure: Search results published in the year 2011 for the query [14th congressional district ca OR california].


Now, use the intext operator we saw before, which requires that a particular term be used. Combine intext with, say, the name of a member of congress, such as "Eshoo."Now I'm getting results about the fourteenth district election from 2011.

Figure: Search results published in the year 2011 for the query [14th congressional district ca OR california intext:eshoo].

So with the time restriction operation, on the Left-hand panel, you can limit your time to dates, weeks, and months. You can vary it and focus your search in different kinds of corpora. You can use the image time restriction,  news time restriction,  or all of the web time restriction.

Try this out in the next exercise and see if you can restrict time.

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