Google News has broken free from its temporal chains; no longer content to display search results from a measly month of prior news, the service has signed with a number of partners to offer news search extending back into early last century. According to PaidContent’s summary of the NYT coverage, sources include the Wall Street Journal, New York Times (to 1981), Washington Post, Time (full archives to 1923), Guardian Unlimited, Factiva, Lexis-Nexis, HighBeam Research and Thomson Gale. Some of the results will require payment to the source for access and there are no Google ads on the results pages. Regular search and timeline display options are available.
The results displayed so far seem limited and timelines are hard. A search for Iran Contra, for example shows results only from 1987 through 1992, thus excluding coverage of the alleged deal between Reagan and Iran in 1980 that unseated Carter from the presidency. It’s only a question of history, though, there’s no need to get political. Almost every result for that search requires payment for access anyway.
The official announcement should come on Wednesday, at which point the archive search option should be available from other pages on Google. For now though you can access it directly at news.google.com/archivesearch.
For another look at archival news search, see our recent coverage of Topix.net, which offers less history but more sources and a more usable timeline.