Google Buy 20 Million Digitized Historical Newspapers

3 12 2008

Back in September, Google sounded out their intention to put more old newspapers online and available for search. This week they came a step closer to realising that mission as they purchased newspaper digitizing company PaperOfRecord.com.

SearchEngineWatch’s blog announced the deal on Tuesday and Nathania Johnson goes on to tell us more about PaperOfRecord.com:

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Google To Bring 10 Million Historic Offline Images Online

19 11 2008

Google announced yesterday that they are planning to bring 10 million of the worlds greatest offline images to the Internet.

The images are some of the most iconic photographs taken by journalists from the historic Life magazine, which commissioned the legendary image of VJ Day celebrations in 1945 New York.

180px-vj_day_kiss

There are millions of images taken by LIFE photographers such as Alfred Eisenstaedt (who took the above picture), Gjon Mili, and Nina Leen.

Google software engineer explains:

Only a very small percentage of these images have ever been published. The rest have been sitting in dusty archives in the form of negatives, slides, glass plates, etchings, and prints. We’re digitizing them so that everyone can easily experience these fascinating moments in time. Today about 20 percent of the collection is online; during the next few months, we will be adding the entire LIFE archive — about 10 million photos.

The Google hosted LIFE archive is now live and is being added to every day. Google have split them into decades for the moment, but you can also navigate by famous names such as Pablo Picasso, famous places like the Himalayas or world events such as the Vietnam War. However, if you wanted to search for a category or keyword they don’t offer, you can always open a standard image search and add the coding source:life after your keywords. For example De Niro source:life.

Personally I think this is great news. The great photographers get to see their work thrive online instead of sitting, wasted, in a warehouse. Google are also improving search results and image quality, while also keeping to their mantra of organising the worlds data – even if offline.