Five years ago Google began a service that allowed users search the archives of some of the world’s major newspapers and magazines. A couple of years later it began digitizing microfilm from newspapers' historic archives to make them searchable online. Now it has ditched the whole project preferring to help those newspapers make more money from their online presence.
The online archive currently has content from over 2,000 publications dating back as far as 200 years ago. The millions of pages of newsprint that has been archived so far will continue to be available to Google News users but there will be no more pages added. While some speculated that the reason for this cessation of service was a copyright issue, Google has said this is not the case. Google is now shifting its focus to help those newspapers to make money from their online presence. To help them achieve this Google will be expounding the benefits of its One Pass system. One Pass will allow subscribers a "purchase-once view-anywhere" system of buying content online and allow publishers more flexible payment options such as offering subscriptions, metered access, 'freemium' content or even single articles for sale from their website or mobile apps.
"We work closely with newspaper partners on a number of initiatives, and as part of the Google News Archives digitisation programme we collaborated to make older newspapers accessible and searchable online," Google said in a statement. “These have included publications such as the London Advertiser in 1895, L'Ami du Lecteur at the turn of the century, and the Milwaukee Sentinel from 1910 to 1995. Users can continue to search digitized newspapers at News Archive Search, 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."
The idea of digitizing the world’s newspapers seemed to fit in perfectly with Google’s attempt to organize the world’s information but with all publishing heading online in the last couple of years, it was always going to be tough to complete the project.