Okay . . . maybe not the best tool ever. But pretty stinking close.
Google Labs released Google News Timeline yesterday ago and I have had the chance to play around a bit with it. Very impressed.
It works similar to the basic Google Search page but focuses obviously on just news stories. I see this being huge for history, social studies and current events teachers. You simply type in a few search terms such as Abraham Lincoln and Google News Timeline spits out a timeline of news stories about my topic.
If I type in a date, say . . . 1865, I get news stories from . . . wait for it . . . 1865! Stories from the period about Lincoln’s vice-president, ongoing overseas negotiations and his assassination. Sweet! The ability to drag the timeline back and forth and the list of news stories up and down gives the user tons of “searchability.”
It’s all still in development but I am assuming, like most Google tools, the Timeline will only improve with age. Give it a try!