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Let's say I want to share the results from my query. There seems to be a lot of meta data in the query string.

Which variables can be removed from the URL to still give a functioning Google search?

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Don't forget that sharing a Google search URL won't necessarily return the same results for other users. Google has been adding varying levels of targeting of Search results for some time now. See this link for one example: googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/… –  user15216 Nov 29 '11 at 18:15
    
+1 This is true, very important and often-overlooked. See a TED lecture on the topic — youtube.com/watch?v=bOE1HFEL8XA –  msanford Jan 10 '12 at 1:44
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3 Answers 3

up vote 25 down vote accepted

I tried removing all the variables except the q string. It seems to work fine. One thing to note is that Google uses the # symbol, instead of ? which you normally see with query strings.

So, as an example, the URL would be: http://google.com/#q=my+query

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Both # and ? will work; ? is actually more standard and does not depend on JavaScript. Although the path will be slightly different: http://google.com/search?q=my+query –  grawity Nov 28 '11 at 23:05
    
@grawity Thanks! –  iglvzx Nov 28 '11 at 23:07
    
Note that, with the more asynchronous queries Google is now using, it is even harder to even obtain a URL to then pair down. –  Mark Hurd Feb 8 '13 at 5:15
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There are a bunch of other CGI parameters in the search results page URL that determine which corpus you’re seeing the results for (Images, Videos, etc.), the page of results, etc. among other things. q is the most important, but not the only one that should be included when sharing.

Some time ago, I wrote a Chrome extension to copy a shorter URL for Google search queries.

Disclaimer: I work at Google on Web Search.

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For a bit more flair, try http://lmgtfy.com/. As in, http://lmgtfy.com/?q=how+do+a+share+a+Google+query

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There's a difference between flair, sarcasm, condescension and plain rudeness. IMNSHO, a LMGTFY link falls somewhere between the last two - this is my impression from such a link: "I understand that you're so dumb that you can't search; here, let me show you how to look things up on the intertubes [pat on the head]." –  Piskvor Jan 11 '12 at 22:24
    
In the wrong context, or with the wrong audience, I agree. –  Steve Bennett Jan 12 '12 at 3:40
    
I love how this is literally a solution to the problem, but it has the lowest rating (below a non-solution), because people would prefer to prioritize being butthurt. –  Suboptimus May 6 '13 at 2:20
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