SAN FRANCISCO -- By now most of you Google Watchers know about the program Google launched today to make more search ad money by displaying historical newspaper content going back more than 200 years.
I just read the blog post on the Google News Archive Partner Program, and it doesn't do it the justice it deserves after seeing Google Search guru Marissa Mayer demonstrate it at TechCrunch50 here today.
The program extends Google's partnerships with the New York Times and the Washington Post, in which Google indexes digital archives and makes them searchable via the Google News Archive, to publications such as the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, the St. Petersburg Times and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Users can currently search newspaper pieces via Google News today, but Google will make this newspaper content available via the main Google search results later.
The cool thing about the articles is that they've been scanned online, so you can view them with the same type, fonts, pictures and other attributes the articles had when they were first published. To accomplish this, the system leverages the scanning technology Google uses for Google Book Search.
"You can actually see the newspapers, seem them in their original content and in their original context and be able to pan around them," Mayer told the 1,700 or so TechCrunch50 attendees today. The service launched with millions of articles today.
Mayer's demo, in which she showed old rum ads to stories from the '70s on shuttle launches, reminded me a lot of when I was in high school and college and I had to scroll through reams of microfiche (yes, microfiche!) to find old news articles.
I'm a little envious because that was such a pain and today's students can just Google stories from 200 years ago on slavery and other issues. It's all right there at a few clicks of the mouse. Check out this piece from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the 1969 moon landing.
Mayer positioned this as good for newspapers because Google is bringing generations of content from journalists, but she also admitted Google is pairing the content with AdSense ads, providing publishing partners with a cut of the ad proceeds.
Just imagine all of those high school and college students clicking on the ads. Ka-ching!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is another way for Google to increase its online ad war chest, but, like so many of its existing Web search services, it will likely give back as much or more value to users.