Google Product Forums

Re: The Timeline function for Web search has disappeared, and News Archive is too limiting.

vagabond1023 Nov 7, 2011 12:38 PM
Posted in group: Google Search and Assistant Help Forum
@ Thomas P.

With the Timeline search tool that Google had until about a week ago, use of Timeline would have produced results similar to these for the year 1879:

and 1879 is their publication date, not the date they first appeared on the Web.

The reason Timeline has disappeared can be found in these paragraphs in the Google Search blog on November 3:

"Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summer’s day, are best when they’re fresh. Even if you don’t specify it in your search, you probably want search results that are relevant and recent.

"If I search for [olympics], I probably want information about next summer’s upcoming Olympics, not the 1900 Summer Olympics (the only time my favorite sport, cricket, was played). Google Search uses a freshness algorithm, designed to give you the most up-to-date results, so even when I just type [olympics] without specifying 2012, I still find what I’m looking for.

"Given the incredibly fast pace at which information moves in today’s world, the most recent information can be from the last week, day or even minute, and depending on the search terms, the algorithm needs to be able to figure out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old.

"We completed our Caffeine web indexing system last year, which allows us to crawl and index the web for fresh content quickly on an enormous scale. Building upon the momentum from Caffeine, today we’re making a significant improvement to our ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35 percent of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness."

In Google's new view, history is now apparently anything that happened more than 24 hours ago, and good luck in having a search produce anything near the top of the search results that is more than a week old.