Hacking the URL Google hands you in response to a search.
When you think of hacks you might think of making a cool search form or performing a particularly intricate search. But you can also hack search results by hacking the URL that Google returns after a search. Thereâs at least one thing you can do by hacking the URL that you can do no other way, and there are quick tricks you can do that might save you a trip back to the advanced preferences page otherwise.
Say you want to search for
mice. Your result URL
will vary depending on the preferences youâve set,
but the results URL will look something like this:
%22 being a URL-encoded
(double quote)âis pretty obvious, but letâs
break down what those extra bits mean.
to the number of search results to a
page, 100 in this case. Google accepts any number from 1 to 100.
Altering the value of
num is a nice shortcut to
altering the preferred size of your result set without having to
meander over to the Advanced Search page and rerun your search.
Donât see the
num= in your query?
Simply append it to your query URL using any value between 1 and 100.
You can add or alter any of the modifiers described here by simply
appending them to the URL or changing their valuesâthe part
= (equals)âto something within the
accepted range for the modifier in question.
hl=en means the
language interfaceâthe language
in which you use Google, reflected in the home page, messages, and
buttonsâis in English (at least mine is).
Googleâs Language Tools page [Hack #2] provides a list of language choices. Run your
mouse over each and notice the change reflected in the URL; the one
for Pig Latin looks like this:
The language code is the bit between
intl/ and the
xx-piglatin in this
case. Apply that to the search URL at hand:
What if you put multiple
&hl modifiers on a
result URL? Google uses whichever one comes last. While it makes for
confusing URLs, this means you can always resort to laziness and add
an extra modifier at the end rather than editing
whatâs already there.
There are a couple more modifiers that, appended to your URL, may provide some useful modifications of your results:
Hacking Googleâs URL may not seem like the most intuitive way to get results quickly, but itâs much faster than reloading the advanced search form and in one case (the âmonths oldâ modifier) itâs the only way to get at a particular set of results.