Google.com has long allowed users to filter search results by time from general increments to setting a “custom date range.” The search engine is now testing a new “before:” and “after:” command to filter right from the search box.

On all platforms, Search users can filter results by past hour, 24 hours, week, month, and year. A “Custom date range” option is available on the desktop web to set the exact “from” and “to” range.

Two new commands allow you to filter right from the search box, and can be used in conjunction together. This new implementation brings precise filters to the Android and iOS apps, as well as the mobile web without Google having to create a custom date picker UI.

The before: & after: commands return documents before & after a date. You must provide year-month-day dates or only a year. You can combine both. For example:

[avengers endgame before:2019]

[avengers endgame after:2019-04-01]

[avengers endgame after:2019-03-01 before:2019-03-05]

Just entering a year will automatically translate that into full dates at the beginning or end of the year. Another nuance is the ability for Search to recognize both dashes and slashes when inputting dates.

Meanwhile, Google wants to remove the date display that appears next to the 10 blue links when using these tools today as it is hard to determine when a site on the web was published or updated. This is due to the lack of a standard, while some sites provide no dates at all.

Google date filter commands

There is an exception for news results given that articles are often clearly labeled. Additionally, Google has removed the sort-by-date option for all results — save for news — given a lack of use. These new “before:” and “after:” commands are still in beta testing, but are widely rolled out today with Google looking for feedback.


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