I am constantly astounded by the number of services that Google provide yet people have no idea about. The one in question today is ‘Google News Archive Search‘.
I think what this does is pretty evident from the title, but nonetheless I will briefly explain it. News archive search allows the user to explore historical archives, you can search for anything you like (people, ideas, events etc.) and then view the headlines, or view the automatically generated timeline.
For an example I will search ‘Brian May’, I type this into the search bar and a number of news articles are brought up, with a chart at the top showing me the number of results in certain years.
The Brian May I had in mind was of course the guitarist from Queen, so the pre 1970 results are probably not anything to do with the person I was searching for. If I then click on the box containing 1990, a new chart appears with the decade broken down into years, I can then click the year 1991, and this brings up the months, and finally click November. This is the month that Freddie Mercury died and it is no suprise that the articles that are now on the screen are mostly related to that.
Another nice available feature is the timeline. For this example I am going to search Poincaré Conjecture’ (I wanted to get some maths into my blog somewhere). So I type it in, hit enter, and then underneath the search box select ‘Timeline’ This then brings up an overview of the history of the Poincaré Conjecture.
We can quickly see that it was first conjectured in 1904, that there was a
partial solution in 1961 and that Perelman provided a solution between
2002 and 2003. For a more detailed look at a particular section of the
timeline all we need to do is to click on the the we are interested in
on the chart and a more detailed timeline appears in front of us. For
example clicking on the 2000 block brings up more information regarding
the Millennium Problems and Perelman’s solution.
I hope this gives you some idea of Google’s News Archive Search and that you have a
play around with it. For more information, or help, please refer to the
News Archive Search help.