Is Google planning an archive search

September 3rd, 2006

Garett Rogers noticed that Google just registered a number of domains like google-archivesearch.com suggesting a plan to offer a service to access old versions of Web pages (like the Internet Archive or perhaps a subset of the Web, like old news articles. Here are the newly registered domains Garett noticed include archivesearchgoogle.com/net, archivesssearchgoogle.com/net, google-archive-search.com/net, google-archive.com/net, google-archives-search.com/net, google-archives.com/net, google-archivesearch.com/net, and google-archivessearch.com/net.

The idea of a Web archive is a great one, and Brewster Kale richly deserves credit for creating the first. If Google does provide a similar service, maybe they will spur new thinking about how to better support searching over archives and what new services can be built given one. For example, knowing how often a Web page changes can have an impact on how much you trust it’s information. Wikipedia’s archiving of old versions of articles, for example, has been used for this (see Investigations into Trust for Collaborative Information Repositories: A Wikipedia Case Study).

I think there’s a case for having multiple archives of Web pages, focusing on certain kinds of Web pages. At the beginning of 2005 we started a Semantic Web archive by retaining copies of old versions of RDF documents when we discover and process a new version. We hope that it will provide a good resource that researchers can use to explore topics like how ontologies evolve.

UPDATE (9/6): see Google archive service is old news.