Google’s ambition wanes, abandons world newspaper digital archive

digitize old newspapersSome projects are just too big, even for Google. The company has announced it is halting its plan to digitally archive the world’s newspapers in order to spend resources on what Google believes are more important endeavors.

The intent was “to make old newspapers more accessible and searchable online”, with the same line of thought for Google Books and the world’s libraries. The plan was to scan, index and host newspaper’s archives, and share revenue with the participating newspapers. The service would have been especially beneficial to smaller papers who don’t have the money to digitize their own archives.

The project, which started in 2008, has already digitized more than 3.5 million issues (60 million pages) from about 2,000 newspapers, totaling 250 years worth of the world’s chatter.

In a statement obtained by Search Engine Land a Google spokesperson wrote: “Users can continue to search digitized newspapers at http://news.google.com/archivesearch, but we don’t plan to introduce any further features or functionality to the Google News Archives and we are no longer accepting new microfilm or digital files for processing.”

Search Engine Land also tracked down a statement from a Boston newspaper which said that newer projects like Google One Pass were more beneficial for the industry. Content given to Google for scanning will be returned, and newspapers that have done their own digitizing can add material to the news archive. Already scanned material in the archive is also free for paper’s to host on their own websites.

The archive includes publications such as the London Advertiser in 1985, L’Ami du Lecteur and the Milwaukee Sentinel from 1910 to 1995. The oldest archived publication is the March 23, 19752 issue of the Halifax Gazette in Nova Scotia.

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