Another Google search service has gone missing: the home page for Google News Archive Search is no longer available. It was previously accessible at news.google.com/archivesearch.
Google News Archive Search allows you to search through news articles that date back longer than the 30 days that are typically covered by regular Google News. It’s still available. However, it’s now more difficult to use without having its own home page.
Yesterday, the URL for the Google News Archives started redirecting to the Google home page. Today, it now redirects to the Google News advanced search page. Help pages for Google News Archives have also disappeared; they used to be available at news.google.com/archivesearch/help.html.
Follows On Print Digitization Closure
A few months ago, Google announced that it was pulling the plug on one of the sources for Google News Archive Search. This was the newspaper digitization program launched in 2008. That program scanned print copies of old newspapers to make them searchable online.
Google told Search Engine Land that this material would continue to be available to Google searchers, even if more wasn’t being collected. Here’s a quote from their statement in May:
Users can continue to search digitized newspapers at http://news.google.com/archivesearch, but we don’t plan to introduce any further features or functionality to the Google News Archives and we are no longer accepting new microfilm or digital files for processing.
By dropping the home page to Google News Archive search, it’s much harder to locate this print material, as well as to search for older news content made available through partnerships or found in other ways by Google.
Ways To Still Archive Search
As mentioned, you can use the Google News advanced search page and do a date range search. You can also conduct a search, then select the “Archives” option that appears:
After that, you’ll be taken to older material:
How About More Heads Up?
It’s Google’s choice to take this search interface offline but, as we’ve pointed out before, it would be very useful to let searchers know that these and other features are being removed. When Google abandoned the Uncle Sam interface in June, Google told us, “we apologize for not communicating more clearly in advance of redirecting these services to google.com.”
That appears to have happened again. Even a feature that’s not used a lot (in comparison to others from Google) is still used by a lot of people, and we think these Google users deserve a small amount of advanced notice (even a few hours), perhaps Google asking for some feedback, and an official announcement posted on a blog or in Google help forum.
We’ve reached out to Google for a comment and will update if and when we hear back.
Postscript, August 19: Google has confirmed for us that this is not a bug and that they’ve removed the Google News Archive Search home page. Here’s the full text of their statement to us:
As you noted, we recently removed the Google News Archive search page and redirected it to the News advanced search page where you can search through News Archives along with the entire News index. News Archives — comprised of both scanned and digital articles from more than a month to hundreds of years old — continue to be fully searchable.
You can search through News Archives in News search and Google.com News mode search. To restrict Google News searches to show archives-only, click on the Archives link on the left navigation bar of news search results pages. To go back in time to periods of interest, narrow your searches by specific dates.
You can continue to do advanced searches through Google News and Google News Archives here: news.google.com/news/advanced_news_search
If you’d like to browse old newspapers, you can also find a list of and links to historical archives here: http://news.google.com/newspapers
So while the number of archive search interfaces available has changed, archives search functionality is still available.