Changes to Google News Archive and search

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 12 19:15:46 UTC 2014

Thanks for the update, Ben. Google currently employs some of the most
brilliant computer scientists in the world. They know that it is not
necessary to break the system while they are performing a "facelift".

Chronological search has worked incorrectly in GB and Google News for
a couple years even when the metadata is accurate. The databases are
still extremely valuable.

The revenue from Google Books and the Google News Archive is probably
small. Historical net revenue is probably quite negative for these
projects, I would guess. On the other hand, they can feed this data to
their new deep AI projects.

On Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 1:23 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Changes to Google News Archive and search
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Anyone who's tried using Google News Archive via
> will notice it
> hasn't been working at all lately. (It only returns search results
> from current news.) The other method, doing a site search on
> <>, still pulls up articles from the
> archive, but the 1970 cutoff for searching on date ranges is still in
> effect. However! It looks like they're working on it:
> ---
> 12/16/13
> We are performing a much needed facelift on our News Archive search
> function as we swap out an old system for an improved one. We are
> focusing engineering resources on building this new system, and as a
> result, for the next several months users will only be able to access
> archived stories through Google Search (, as explained in
> our Help Center article.
> ---
> --bgz
> On Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 2:22 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole  wrote:
>> Thanks very much for your response Ben. I have seen that interface,
>> and I did see that help page. What do you make of this sentence?:
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> Note that Google Web Search doesn't support custom date ranges earlier
>> than 1970 or content behind a paywall.
>> [End excerpt]
>> I just tried the suggested interface to perform a search between
>> 1/6/1950 and 1/13/1960 for the word "freedom" and no matches were
>> returned.
>> On Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 1:32 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>> >
>> > On Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 8:57 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
>> >>
>> >> Google has made changes to the search interface for the Google News
>> >> Archive of scanned newspapers. The changes appear to make the archive
>> >> much more difficult to search effectively. If a list member would like
>> >> to share ideas for searching this database please reply with a message
>> >> on list or off list. Thanks.
>> >
>> > They don't make it easy, but Google News Archive can still be reliably
>> > searched in a couple of ways. I keep this page bookmarked:
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > ...which makes a box pop up over the usual news search allowing you to
>> > specify a date range in the archives. Or you can do a site search on
>> > Google using <> and then select "custom
>> > range" in the "search tools" pulldown menu. More info here:
>> >
>> >
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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