The Internet Archive launched several new (beta) features to the site’s Wayback Machine recently that bring compare, better save to archive and collections features to the site.
The site’s Wayback Machine powers a huge database of website snapshots that anyone may search using the provided tools. It is great for restoring dead or non-working webpages, and looking up older versions of a webpage.
Plenty of tools have been created in the past to make things more comfortable for users: from loading archived copies of sites in browsers automatically when they don’t load to preserving webpages by sending them to the Wayback Machine or downloading entire site archives.
The maintainers of the site launched several features recently that add new tools and improve functionality.
One of the new features enables you to compare two snapshots with each other. Just click on the changes link at the top to open the interface.
The Wayback Machine loads all snapshots sorted by year. Colors highlight how different the second snapshot is from the first that you have selected. All you need to do is select two snapshots from the selection and click on the compare button to start the process.
The two pages are displayed side by side on a new page then with the differences highlighted.
The comparison works best for individual pages and not pages that change a lot. Comparing the homepage of a blog has little value if it displays new articles there when they are posted; the compare option works really well for article pages as they change less frequently.
The compare interface lets you pick different snapshots right from its interface which is very convenient. You may also open individual snapshots in their own window.
Updated Save Page Now option
The option to add pages to the Wayback Machine has been part of the project for a long time. It allows anyone to suggest URLs to the service that they would like to see added to the service.
All that it takes for that was to open the Save Page interface on the site, paste the URL of the service into the field, and hit the save page button afterward.
An updated version of the Save Page functionality is now available. It adds capabilities to include all embedded links, internal and external, by checking the “save outlinks” option.
Existing users may also save the page to their web archive which works as a “personal but public” bookmarking system.
The Collections feature is more specialized than that. It reveals why a particular URL has been archived by the Wayback Machine. Collections refer to different crawl groups that serve different purposes or target sets of domains such as top domains, pages with broken links, or regional sites. A click on a collection displays more information about it.
All Captures are shown
The Wayback Machine showed some captures on a given date by default only in the past. It happens that sites that are updated multiple times a day are scanned by the Internet Archive’s bots multiple times as well to capture all changes made to these sites.
When you hover over a date in Calendar view, you now get the list of all snapshots of that day in a popup. Just click on any to display it in the browser.
Now you: do you use the Wayback Machine?
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