Google Integrates News Archive Search Into Current News Search, Weakens Archive Search

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Back in May, we wrote about Google's cancellation of its News Archive project. At the time, the Boson Phoenix, one of the newspaper partners providing content to the News Archive, reported that the Archive was expected to live on - it's just that no new content would be added to it. While conducting test searches today, we have learned that Google has discontinued the standalone News Archive Search and integrated its results more fully into its (current) News Search. 

Previously, the Google News Archive Search was located at http://news.google.com/archivesearch and its Advanced Search page was located at http://news.google.com/archivesearch/advanced_search. As of (at least) August 17, the former returns a 404 error now redirects to the (current) Google News Search page and the latter redirects to Google's Web Search Advanced Search page.

After some further digging, we've determined that the News Archive Search isn't completely dead...it's just been integrated so far into the (current) News Search that it can be (more) easily missed.

Google News Search

Search results from Google's (current) News Search display an option in the now-familiar left-hand side bar to filter results by currency (e.g., "Past Hour," "Past month," "2009"). This now includes an option to display only the "Archive" results. The site's notion of what constitutes "archival" news material is pretty loose however. A search conducted on August 17, 2011 considered content from June 17 of the same year to be archival. Once you click the Archive option in the side bar the available options to filter the results by currency change, adding older dates/ranges (e.g., "1949-1950," "1951-1958"). The left-hand-side bar also gives you the option of setting a "Custom Range" of dates within which to display results. Additionally, you can use the News Search's Advanced Search page to set a custom date range before you begin your search.

Google News Archive

The standalone News Archive has not completely disappeared, however. It can now be accessed by itself at http://news.google.com/newspapers. This page displays an alphabetical list of the more than 2,000 newspapers whose content makes up the News Archive. The list of newspapers is browseable by scrolling or clicking on one of the letters of the alphabet near the top of the page to jump to the newspapers whose names that begin with the letter you've selected.

Google News Archive Search

There is only a simple search box on this page. There is no Advanced Search page. Searching via this interface eliminates some of the newer content in the search results. Using the same test search mentioned above, the most recent result returned when searching this interface was July 10 of the previous year. Results of searches conducted at this page also include the left-hand side bar and currency filters (although the date ranges in this interface do not extend back as far as the ones noted above). You can set a custom date range from the left-hand side bar as you can in the News Search results. Despite the lack of an Advanced Search page, you can force the News Archive Search to perform more targeted "field" searches by manually including the search operators along with your search terms in the search box. For example, a search for "cold war" source:"New York Times" would return results for the phrase "cold war" only from the "New York Times" no other sources would be considered. Note that these operators must be all lowercase. Also note that despite its inclusion of results from the New York Times in numerous test searches we ran, that paper is not listed in the alphabetical list of newspapers in the archive mentioned above.

The "Timeline" display of results is also no longer available in searches using the Archive-only interface.

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