Google announced in an e-mail to publishers today that it’s hitting the brakes on its News Archive project, an extension of Google News that digitally scans and archives print papers. The project was a massive undertaking, and allowed publishers to send in old newspapers that Google would then scan and add to the online archives, splitting the pageview revenue generated from the scans. Many publishers complained of a lengthy lag time between sending in papers and seeing them in the archive, but the project was an interesting idea nonetheless, and surely helpful for anyone performing online research. Google will continue hosting the existing archives, but as of now won’t be adding any new scans to the database.
According to The Boston Phoenix, Google claims that the shift away from the News Archives Project will allow the company to focus on its other ideas for revitalizing the news industry, like Google One Pass, “a user authentication, payment processing, and administration….payment system that enables publishers to set the terms for access to their digital content.” But for those interested in reading papers that haven’t yet been digitally archived by Google or other sources, I guess it’s back to studying microfilm at the library, old school style.