Stop the Scanners: Google halts efforts to digitize old newspapers
Googleâs has long touted a grand vision of organizing the worldâs information. But on Friday, the worldâs No.1 Internet search engine acknowledged that not all of that information will make the cut.
The company has put the brakes on a three-year-old project to scan and digitize newspaper archives dating back to the 18th century.
Google said that websurfers can continue to access its existing free online archive of newspapers â the company has digitized more than 3.5 million issues of more than 2,000 newspaper titles worldwide â but the company will no longer add to the collection by scanning old newspapers.
âWe 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,â Google said in an emailed statement.
The news comes as Google undergoes its biggest management shift in a decade, with co-founder Larry Page replacing Eric Schmidt as CEO in April.
Interestingly, Page is considered to be a big proponent of ambitious âmoonshotâ projects, such as Googleâs similar effort to scan the worldâs out-of-print library books (an effort which is currently facing some legal difficulties).
But Google insiders have also said they expect Page to prune the vast number of projects underway at the company, so that Google can focus on the ones with the most promise. And there is increasing pressure from investors over Googleâs free-spending ways.
Itâs also worth nothing that Google has recently launched several products to help publishers make money from their digital content, such as the One Pass service for selling subscriptions to online magazines and newspapers and the recently-launched electronic bookstore Google eBooks.
Perhaps spending time and money to build a free library of old newsprint doesn’t deliver enough of a return on investment for the new Google.