Google Reads 200 Years Of News

    September 6, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

News junkies will receive some good news today from Google – a searchable archive of stories from the past 200 years that draws from free and subscription-based services.

Google Reads 200 Years Of News
Google News Archive Goes Way Back

It may be a little strange to search for a story and see it displayed on the website with the dateline, “Posted Monday, Mar. 28, 1927.” That predates ENIAC by 20 years, the Internet by over 40.

But that is what one might find with the Google News Archive Search. Google flipped the switch on the new service today, and offers a deeper look at news than the month-long period the Google News page keeps stories.

Older results, like searches for news on ‘Thomas Jefferson’, come from sites like Results on that site appear in a scrollable window that displays the scanned text from the page. The OCR technology in use is of mixed quality, though, as some of the text comes through the scan garbled.

The BBC reported that major news sources like the New York Times and the Guardian UK participate in the Archive Search. They cited a source at Google for his perspective on the new service:

“The goal here is to be able to explore history as it unfolded,” said Anurag Acharya, an engineer at Google and one of the team behind the project.

“It’s fascinating to see how people’s attitudes and emotions have changed through time.”

Acharya also noted that the oldest searchable story has a dateline “somewhere in the mid-1700s.” He also discussed the Timeline feature, which displays news stories on a topic over a period of time:

“The ability to browse this historical overview allows users to identify key time periods and get some sense of the flow of events,” said Mr Acharya.

The Google News Archive Search looks very much like what we have come to expect from a new product launch from the company. It has a couple of features and the usual minimal look and feel. There are no ads displayed with the search results at this time.

Despite much of the older content and certain sources requiring a payment to view it, Google has not implemented its Checkout service here either. News Archive Search is a new release, so such features like Checkout may be destined for a future update.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.