The WayBackMachine now has a beta text search called Recall. It’s still very beta-ish, as the results aren’t that great, but the ability to search the archives by text content rather than URL is interesting. Personally, I like the little zeitgeist like graphs they provide, which show good historical trends.
The above search should be an obvious one: “y2k”. A sudden and massive upswell in “Y2K” related content just before January 2000, followed by a very quick decline upon the realization that fuck-all happened.
The above search is for “al-Qaeda”; the graph shows related terms. There is an obviously massive increase in activity after September 2001, but what’s interesting is the “al-qaeda” spike in late 2000 (USS Cole Attack) and the late-2000, early-2001 increase in the term “holy war”.
Maybe it’s just me, but I find trends, patterns, and memetics like this really fascinating.