The news archive, to be unveiled on Wednesday, includes old articles provided by some of traditional media's biggest names, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time magazine and The Washington Post.

 

Other leading information storehouses such as LexisNexis, Factiva and HighBeam have permitted access to their databases on the new system.

 

The archived news links are clustered around themes and according to date in chronological order as far back as 200 years ago in some cases. Users can also choose to search the archives of specific publications.

 

Until now, Google's four-year-old news-search service has focused primarily on stories posted on the web during the past 30 days.

 

The new archives feature will only share excerpts from stories related to users' requests. To see full stories, Google's visitors will be sent to the websites that own the content, permitting the media outlets to charge for access to the full stories.

 

"This is going to be a very good thing for us," said Vivian Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of NYTimes.com.

 

"There is a tremendous hunger out there for our archives."

 

Media anger

 

Google will not collect any commission for the sales referrals, hoping instead to make money indirectly from increased usage of its own site.

 

Some media outlets have expressed anger at Google for what is seen as a bid to profit from the display of content owned by others.

 

The friction triggered a copyright infringement lawsuit by Agence France-Presse, which is seeking at least $17.5 million in damages. Google has denied the allegations.

 

However, in recent months Google announced separate business deals with the Associated Press news organisation and Viacom's MTV Networks.

 

The search engine also is aggressively promoting a video service, Google Video, that allows television networks and movie studios to sell content.