This is one area where Google's search algorithm falls down [...] I wish there was the option for a decay (or timeout) function into their page-rank algorithms to reward contemporary information.
Look to the left of the search results. See the "Search Options" thing? Open that and you can restrict results by date range (and a number of other things).
I never noticed those options until someone pointed them out to me recently. I guess if you've been using something simple for a decade, at some point you stop looking for new things about it. But now I'm amazed all over again. For example, do a timeline search on Google for "New Orleans" and see the peaks around the Civil War and War of 1812, then click and read historical articles from those periods in the NYT.
Tying this back to the original article, I personally think it's awesome that the Internet appears to "remember" stuff from before it was built. Getting articles from 1861 in your search results is just trippy, so hats off to Google and the Times.