Google has stepped up efforts to digitize dozens of historical newspapers and make scanned images of the original papers available online, the Internet search leader has announced.

In a blog post on the Silicon Valley-based company's webite, Google said it is looking to make old newspapers searchable online by partnering with newspaper publishers to digitize millions of pages of news archives.

The effort involves the archives of dozens of newspaper titles and expands on a two-year-old effort by Google to work with two major US newspapers - The New York Times and Washington Post - to index old papers in Google News Archive.

"Not only will you be able to search these newspapers, you'll also be able to browse through them exactly as they were printed - photographs, headlines, articles, advertisements and all," Google product manager Punit Soni said in the blog post.

The new papers range from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "the first newspaper West of the Alleghenies" (the Allegheny Mountains), to the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, which has continuously published for 244 years, making it North America's oldest lasting paper.

The additional newspapers allow readers to see how newspapers of bygone days covered historical events.

The initial newspaper partners for the digital archiving program are located in the United States and Canada, a spokesman said.

"The goal is no different than Google Book Search," company spokesman Gabriel Stricker said, referring to Google's broad-based effort to work with major academic libraries around the world to scan older, out-of-print books. "It is just getting a lot of published offline content online."

As an example, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's coverage of the 1969 moon landing can be found here .

Also today, Google announced that it will halve the amount of time that it stores users' search information, effective globally. The 18-month limit, imposed in 2007, is to be cut to nine months following an EU report which recommended changes to search engines' practices of storing large amounts of users data in April.