The Internet is an endless world of links, sites, posts and pages. Surely, you must have visited a page someday and realized it has been deleted or taken down? Yes, it can be annoying. Well fret not, as The Internet Archive has released a Wayback Machine Extension (you can download it from here) that takes you to a website’s archived page and let you take a look at it, even in case the page is dead or there’s an error 404 display flashing.
This is how it works: Once you land on a dead page, the extensions asks the Wayback Machine whether there is an archived version of the webpage available. If there is, you’ll have the option to select the most recent archive to be generated for you.
The extension will detect error codes 404, 408, 410, 451, 500, 502, 503, 504, 509, 520, 521, 523, 524, 525, and 526 and transmit you the archived version of the web pages.
Obviously, the link-rot plague cannot be eliminated completely, but The Internet Archive’s latest Chrome extension will definitely help reduce it’s prevalence. A 2014 Harvard Law School study looks at the statistics involved with link decays. They determined that approximately 50% of the URLs in U.S. Supreme Court opinions no longer link to the original information. They also found that in a selection of legal journals published between 1999 and 2011, more than 70% of the links no longer functioned as intended
For the past 20 years, the Internet Archive has recorded and preserved webpages, 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.
Mark Graham, the co-founder of the Internet Archive writes.
The Wayback Machine Chrome extension is designed to help mitigate link rot and other common web breakdowns.
This is not the first time a browser got this feature. Firefox rolled out this feature in August last year in a Test Build. To solve this problem, Firefox presents users with the message “This page appears to be missing,” and a link to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
For those not familiar with the Internet Archive’s Wayback Archive, it allows you to search for Web pages no longer accessible to the public. It creates archives dating back upto 20 years old to preserve digital artifacts and is extensively used by historians, scholars, etc. And now, the extension allows you a faster way to make your way to old and long forgotten web pages.