Google announced that the search giant will partner will newspapers large and small to archive newspaper articles, photos and advertisements and make them searchable for Google News users.
Google says users will also be able to browse the content as it was printed.
Everyone’s favorite search engine has been working with the New York Times and the Washington Post since 2006 to index their digital archives and make them searchable in Google News, but now just about any publisher who agrees with Google’s methods can put their archive online.
What’s Google’s goal?
making those billions of pages of newsprint from around the world searchable, discoverable, and accessible online.
Is that a good thing?
For starters, digital archives of content is incredibly more permanent than the printed format, CNet’s Stephen Shankland writes.
Shankland also says this the Google-newspaper venture will help searchers find the content their looking for. Who really has the time to visit their local newspaper’s morgue and find an article about their grandmother from 80 years ago?
But here’s the issue I’ve quickly run into.
Upon checking out Google News’ archive feature, I found most of the articles that show up for the search term “Michigan bike” require a subscription or payment of about $3 to view the article.
I’m not too involved in the business side of newspapers, but do archive sales really produce so much in revenue that it’s worth frustrating users like this?
Think of the research possibilities that this feature offers, and yet the barrier still exists that newspapers charge for their archived content.
The Google-newspaper venture will be supported by online ads, which will largely go to publishers, CNet reports.
Hopefully, this project can help bolster newspapers’ online ad-revenue, which is recently growing at about 15 percent annually, but only accounts for about 10 percent of all newspaper ad revenue. (source: NYT)
If it does, the Google News-newspaper partnership will open up huge archives that the public may never before so easily accessed and could help communities better connect with their past.
What do you think about the project? Is it time for newspapers to drop the archive charges?