For the past 20 years, the Internet Archive has recorded and preserved web pages, and hundreds of billions of them are available via the Wayback Machine. This is good because we are learning the web is fragile and ephemeral. For example a 2013 Harvard study found that 49% of the URLs referenced in U.S. Supreme Court decisions are now dead. Those decisions affect everyone in the U.S., and the evidence the opinions are based on is disappearing.
When previously valid URLs don’t respond, but instead return a result code of 404, we call that link rot. The Wayback Machine Chrome extension is designed to help mitigate against link rot and other common web breakdowns.
By using the “Wayback Machine” extension for Chrome, users are automatically offered the opportunity to view archived pages whenever any one of several error conditions, including code 404, or “page not found,” are encountered. If those codes are detected, the Wayback Machine extension silently queries the Wayback Machine, in real-time, to see if an archived version is available. If one is available, a notice is displayed via Chrome, offering the user the option to see the archived page.
The Internet Archive considers the privacy of our users to be of critical importance. We try not to record IP addresses, and we have fought National Security letters. You can rest assured that the use of the Wayback Machine Chrome extension will not expose your browsing history. In addition we are in conversation with Google about adding a proxy server as an additional layer of protection.
Thank you for giving the Wayback Machine for Chrome extension a try. You can test it with this URL: http://www.pfaw.org:80/attacks.htm We are committed to supporting better web browsing experiences and welcome your feedback and suggestions about how we can improve. Please send us your bug reports, feature requests and other feedback directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.