Feeds

Adobe, profs working on web time-machine app

'Zoetrope' travels into distant past 1990s

High performance access to file storage

A collaborative effort between Adobe and the University of Washington intends to offer a new web archiving and search app called Zoetrope, which would allow users to search past versions of the web as well as what is out there at the moment.

"Your browser is really just a window into the Web as it exists today," says Eytan Adar, doctorate student at Washington Uni.

"When you search for something online you're only getting today's results."

Or anyway the results that existed when the Googlebots last crawled the site - and often enough even those have already been superseded or disappeared. And once the Google cache turns over (or whichever search engine you favour) you can't easily find what went before.

That's what the Zoetrope system is meant to sort out. But there have been such efforts before.

Adar and his chums at both Adobe Systems and UW reckon that other web-timemachine services aren't up to snuff, though. The Internet Archive, for instance, can't be easily searched and uses "inconsistent" records. That said, they hope eventually to incorporate the Internet Archive database into their records.

The idea of Zoetrope is that it would bring the ease of the current web to historical searching. For instance, rather than trawling through old pdf documents to find out about past traffic patterns, you could simply run back through time looking at traffic-map sites. Or you could link two historical searches, like athletic records broken and air pollution in Beijing.

For now, Zoetrope only records a thousand sites every hour. Challenges for the future include scaling this up to to cover the whole web, and making the system decide for itself how often it needs to snapshot a site.

The allied UW and Adobe engineers' efforts are funded by the National Science Foundation, the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation and the Washington Research Foundation. They hope to release the Zoetrope client free, perhaps as early as next summer, and say that it could be added on or embedded into existing browsers.

"Zoetrope is aimed at the casual researcher," said Dan Weld, UW prof. "It's really for anyone who has a question." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Microsoft: Windows version you probably haven't upgraded to yet is ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of Windows 8.1 will no longer support patches
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.