Firefox Experiments With Archived Web Pages to Replace Crappy 404 Errors

By Gary Cutlack on at

Users of the new feature-testing version of Mozilla's Firefox are now being treated to an extra bit of help when trying to track down incriminating things that have been deleted from the web -- links to automatically trawled copies of broken pages from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.

It's dead simple. Try to visit a missing page when using the Test Pilot version of Firefox and it'll pop up a message saying it can't find it alongside the actual 404 error message, then ask the user if he or she would instead like to see an old version pulled out from the Wayback Machine, should one exist. So nothing can ever be deleted ever again. Hooray, or oh dear, depending on if you're the hunter or the hunted.

Firefox says it should only pop up the message when there is a saved version of the specific page in the database, so hopefully it wouldn't batter's servers too hard should it ever hit the mainstream version of Firefox and do so well that Chrome and Microsoft inevitably nick the idea for their browsers too. [Test Pilot via The Register]

Want more updates from Gizmodo UK? Make sure to check out our @GizmodoUK Twitter feed, and our Facebook page.