This project is a collaboration between about 30 partners - some are libraries providing digital newspaper collections, some are universities and others are providing technology and technical expertise. All from Europe.
The initial goal of the project - slated to end a three-year run in 2015, is to provide new technology and an initial collection size of 10 million full text searchable pages.
I won't repeat the details of their activities - they can be reviewed by visiting the Europeana Newspapers site. There are presentation slides, a blog and a newsletter full of project information.
One of the goals of their project is to provide an easily usable interface for users of the new capability. I found the main page of the Prototype to be easily navigated. I did have a question about the interface after you had selected a search result and the manipulation of the resulting image, but it is quite easy to use. And it does have a nice function where you can narrow your search results further after you have completed the search. To me the prototype has a very nice set of features and seems to be state-of-the-art in terms of online newspaper software. They also are promising a way to correct poorly OCR'd text as a future addition. This is a great idea, and unfortunately one that is not available on very many current sites, although sorely needed.
This is a very promising endeavor - and for those of you with European ancestors - definitely a project to watch. Keep your eye on it.