By Jacqui Cheng | Published: December 09, 2008 - 07:09PM CT
Google's book search is no longer limited to just books—now, users can turn up magazine results when hunting through the electronic versions of dead trees. The company announced Tuesday that it had begun an initiative to add magazine archives (in addition to current issues) to its online collection, with full articles now showing up alongside search results for various keywords.
As of today, Google has partnered with a number of publishers to digitize their offerings and link them in the book search. This includes selections from New York magazine, which now has hundreds of issues online from as far back as 1965, and Popular Science. The magazine selection isn't just limited to those, however—just do a keyword search for almost anything and you'll see magazine results turn up alongside the book results. If you want to limit your search to just magazines, you can do so through the advanced book search preferences.
Unlike some of the book results, magazines found through Google's book search are offered as full articles—helpful for performing that last tidbit of research online without hiking to a library in the dead of night. Google says that it eventually plans to start mixing magazine results into regular old search results, "so you may begin finding magazines you didn't even know you were looking for."
Google first began digitizing books in 2004 through partnerships with various libraries, but it quickly ran into legal trouble as publishers' associations began to raise questions about Google's respect of copyright. In 2005, The Authors Guild sued Google for "massive copyright infringement"—a legal battle that lasted until very recently when Google settled with the publishing industry and incorporated limits on how copyrighted works could be accessed online. There was also a surprising agreement as part of the settlement that turned Google into a bookseller of out-of-print, but still-in-copyright works.
With the book publisher lawsuit out of the way, Google is free to continue moving forward with its digitizing efforts. And now, with the help of a massive archive of magazines to digitize, that effort is greatly expanded. "We think that bringing more magazines online is one more important step toward our long-standing goal of providing access to all the world's information," wrote Google.