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What does the &q=%s mean (and do) at the end of a Google custom search URL like http://www.google.com/search?q=@@@&tbs=qdr:y&q=%s?

Background: I'm using Anysearch Safari Extension (https://github.com/mcs07/AnySearch-safari-extension) and defining a custom search engine (using the url above) to return only results for the past year straight from my Safari menu bar. Using this setup, it seems to work without the &q=%s at the end, but not with it.

migrated from superuser.com Aug 9 '17 at 14:58

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  • It's a query string. What it does is any thing the developer wants to do with it... What if does in Google today may be different tomorrow – Dave Aug 9 '17 at 14:56
  • The URL has errors becuse ir includes q= two times. What Is the source of such URL? – Rubén May 9 '18 at 22:54
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I think it is less about what it does for Google and more about what it is doing to your search. % is generally a wildcard character used in SQL to mean 'A substitute for zero or more characters'. The plugin may or may not be trying to parse the % character as a wildcard. % is also an url encoding character so if you perform a Google search on say '?me on this' the URL string will look like 'q=%3Fme+on+this'. So the plugin may also be trying to parse it as a URL encoding character.

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