Google Books has just launched a digitized magazine stand. In their never-ending quest to archive all media, from Web sites to books, Google is taking on the publishing world and scanning entire issues of magazines, ads and all. Most issues are two or three years old–or even a few decades old. It’s kind of like crawling into your parents’ attic and flipping through yellowing LIFE issues–only online.
Jeffrey Pang, a software engineer at Google Books, built the new feature. He kept getting requests from friends and family to allow them to browse all the magazines available on Google Books. Before, they had to search for them individually. “Someone even created a Facebook group called Get Google Magazine Search to provide a list of indexed titles,” he wrote on the Google Book’s official blog yesterday. “The group has 45 members and growing, so before it reached millions of members and there were protests in front of my house, I decided that I better act fast.”
Users can browse magazine covers or look at an alphabetical list of titles. There’s also links on some issues’ tables of contents, so users can go directly to specific articles.
Google announced last September that they would add more magazine archives and current magazines online. As they wrote on their blog, if someone searched for “hank aaron pursuing babe ruth’s record” on Google Books, they’d find a link to a 1973 Ebony article about Hank Aaron, written as he closed in on Babe Ruth’s original record for career home runs. You can read the article in full color and in its original context, just as you would in the printed magazine. “Explore other publications, like Popular Science, New York Magazine, or (for you physics enthusiasts) the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, to rediscover historical interviews, do-it-yourself articles, and even a piece on canine eyewear. In many cases, these magazines aren’t just history as history, but history as perspective – a way of understanding today.”
There’s plenty to click through, but here are a few titles and issues we suggest you check out:
Mother Jones’ January/February 2000 issue – Read Ian Frazier’s tribute to pay phones and how they “recall a commonality in our culture.” Or Richard Dreyfuss on how Agent Orange continued to affect the Vietnamese 25 years after the U.S. originally dumped the chemical weapon on their land.
New York Magazine’s Dec. 22, 1997 issue – Oh, David Denby on Titanic! MOMA’s expansion, Daniel Boulud’s Daniel restaurant, Ted Turner’s Media Magazine are all there. And, Janeane Garofalo, Leigh Feldman, Jerry Speyer, Stephen Stondheim are featured as New Yorkers of the Year. Ah, the good ol’ days.