I suppose that the measure of any new feature on a website is how frequently it gets used and actually improves a user’s experience. If that’s the case, the “Show Options” feature that Google is the best they’ve unveiled in years. It allows you to drill down your results by time, type, and other criteria depending on the type of search.
There are soooo many instances where I want results from only within the last week or the last year. In particular, any time I have a programming question, I want an answer within the last year…not something similar from 2001 that doesn’t apply to today’s web. A solution that worked on PHP 4 a few years back, might not be the best/safest solution for a site running PHP 5 in 2009.
When I installed Ubuntu 9.10 a few weeks ago just after it had been released, I had an issue with Compiz Fusion graphics and only wanted answers from within the previous week (no sense in looking at resolutions from a previous version of Ubuntu). I also filtered by forums and by blogs to see what other type of results I could get. The most helpful results came from forums within the past week, which of course makes sense.
Previously I would have had no way of getting to those answers this quickly (or really at all). Thank you Google.