Google brings old magazines back to life, online

Company takes old issues into realm of online publishing, albeit through scans. In a new partnership, users can view old copies freely, from the comfort of their browser.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn

On Tuesday Google announced a partnership with several publishers to bring complete catalogs of old magazines online.

By using the same scanning process that has been implemented for Google's Book Search product, these titles undergo optical character recognition and are indexed into Google's search engine. In a post on the company's official blog, Google said that the scanned works will first be available in Book Search, with integration into regular Google search results to follow.

Among the more notable publications are Popular Science, Men's Health, Ebony, and New York Magazine. As part of the partnership, magazine publishers are getting links leading users back to the publication's site. These show up on the side of the content, along with advertising and user reviews.

Google has not provided a full directory of scanned titles outside of using a magazine tag, which denotes titles that are not books. However, once you've discovered a title there's a really neat way to browse through its history by decade, which includes a Google Maps layer that shows you places mentioned with links right to that page or article.

Google now offers full copies of old magazines. The selection is limited, but it will hopefully grow to encompass many titles. CNET Networks

It's not clear if Google or select publishers intend to further monetize this new program by selling full digital copies of certain titles. As it stands now, users are able to view entire copies of magazines, although they're not able to archive them for personal use offline.