Google is mining a catalogue of over 200 years of digitised news articles to offer users the new Google News Archive Search.

At the moment it’s only available to US users, the tool lets users search for events, people and stories from the past, and returns results that are both free and subscription-based.

Current news sources including the New York Times and the Guardian, as well as online news aggregators, are already onboard with the project.

On the results pages, similar articles about the same event are grouped together like on Google News; those results that cost money to view are grouped with free sources, but the cost of viewing them is clearly displayed.

An alternative display lets users view articles along a timeline, so that they can see key dates and related news stories.

Although Google is not releasing details on exactly how many news sources are available, a spokesperson has said that the oldest story was written some time in the mid-1700s.