LIFE magazine now available on Google Books

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 7:20 AM

When I was a kid I used to enjoy thumbing through a collection of older magazines that my grandfather had at his house. I remember flipping through the pages and feeling as though I was peeking through a window into life from decades past. Unfortunately, we lost my grandfather's magazines some time ago, and we've never quite managed to recreate his collection. But I know that if we could, those magazines would be just as fascinating today as they were years ago, which is why we've been partnering with publishers to digitize magazines and bring them online.

I'm excited to announce that starting today, visitors to Google Books will be able to search and browse even more magazines on Google Books. We've partnered with Life Inc. to digitize LIFE Magazine's entire run as a weekly: over 1,860 issues, covering the years from 1936 to 1972. Most of us are familiar with the term "American Century," but chances are few of us have been able to read Henry Luce's defining editorial in its original context, a 1941 issue of LIFE. You'll be able to find and read Leonard McCombe’s iconic cover and photo essay on a Texas Cowboy and Richard Meryman's famous last interview with Marilyn Monroe. You can find a 1968 cover story on Georgia O'Keeffe (which you may want to read if you're visiting the Whitney Museum anytime soon).

You'll even find Alfred Eisenstadt's famous photo of the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square on VJ Day in 1945.

This is part of a broader effort across Google to help bring offline content online and allow people to find it with a simple Google web search. In addition to viewing these and other extraordinary photographs printed in the original issues of LIFE, you can also search and browse millions of individual photos produced by LIFE on Google Image Search. The LIFE photography collection on Google Image Search includes more than 10 million images, 97 percent of which were never published in the magazine. Both are blended into Google Web Search, so when you do a search from, you're also searching millions of images and thousand of magazine issues from LIFE.

To start your journey through history, hop on over to Google Books where you can browse through all the available issues of LIFE. Be sure to try out our recently launched Thumbnail View to see the layout of all the pages in the magazine.

You can filter your search to magazine content by choosing "Magazines" for the content type on the advanced search panel on Google Books.

You can also use the magazines filter in the Search Options Panel in web search.

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Discover Books and Magazines using Search Options

Friday, September 18, 2009 at 9:55 AM

Earlier this year, we introduced the Search Options panel in web search, making it easier to perform queries that limit results to a particular type of content- such as videos, forums, and reviews. We are now making it even easier to find books and magazines by making all of the content on Google Books searchable using the Search Options panel.

This will provide easier access to books and magazines by letting you slice and dice your results with certain characteristics. For example, you can now search for only books or magazines or for only content that you can preview in Google Books.

Try this yourself when you search the web using Google by clicking "Show options..." and selecting "Books".

Please note that this is currently only available in the United States, but we look forward to making this available elsewhere in the future. Read the full post 0 comments


Books Digitized by Google Available via the Espresso Book Machine

Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 9:46 AM

I'm a sucker for a cool piece of technology. The Espresso Book Machine, which can print a book in minutes before your eyes, fits the bill. If sentient robots ever succeed in taking over the world, this is how they will print their books.

We founded Google Books on the premise that anyone, anywhere, anytime should have the tools to explore the great works of history and culture. We recently made available over a million free public domain books for viewing and download from our web site. Reading digital books can be an enjoyable experience, but we realize that there are times when readers want a physical copy of a book. To that end, I'm excited to announce that we're partnering with On Demand Books to allow readers to purchase public domain books digitized by Google from any Espresso Book Machine at bookstores and libraries around the world.

Here's some video footage of the Espresso machine in action:

We believe in an open ecosystem where people can access and read books, whether at a computer, on their phone or electronic reader, or from their local library or bookshop. This announcement is yet one more step towards fulfilling that mission: it helps people find and read these books in more ways.
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An update on Google Books and privacy

Thursday, September 03, 2009 at 4:25 PM

(Cross-posted from the Google Public Policy Blog)

We're excited about the wide range of support that the Google Books settlement has received. Some people have asked how Google's privacy practices apply to Books and the settlement, and, last month, we published an extensive FAQ.

Since last spring, we've had detailed discussions with a number of groups about our privacy practices within Google Books as well as some of our preliminary thoughts about what privacy protections we want to build into services authorized by our settlement agreement. As part of our outreach, we talked to Federal Trade Commission staff to hear their thoughts and answer their questions on privacy and Books. Rather than limit our conversations to the FTC and other specific organizations, though, we wanted to share the results of our exchange with the wider public by releasing a formal Privacy Policy for Google Books, and by highlighting a letter we recently sent to the FTC on Google Books and privacy.

While Google Books has always been covered by the general Privacy Policy for all of Google's services, we understand that the privacy of reading records is especially important to readers and libraries. We know that users want to understand how Google's privacy practices apply to Books today, and what will happen after the settlement. To provide all users with a clear understanding of our practices, and in response to helpful comments about needing to be clearer about the Books product from the FTC and others, we wanted to highlight key provisions of the main Google Privacy Policy in the context of the Google Books service, as well as to describe privacy practices specific to the Google Books service. We've also described some privacy practices for services created by our proposed settlement agreement, which is currently awaiting court approval.

As we noted in our letter to the FTC, because the settlement agreement has not yet been approved by the court, and the services authorized by the agreement have not been built or even designed yet, it's not possible to draft a final privacy policy that covers details of the settlement's anticipated services and features. Our privacy policies are usually based on detailed review of a final product -- and on weeks, months or years of careful work engineering the product itself to protect privacy. In this case, we've planned in advance for the protections that will later be built, and we've described some of those in the Google Books policy. We have also covered several privacy issues in our letter to the FTC on Google Books. You can read more of that exchange on the FTC's website here.

We take our privacy commitments to our users very seriously. It's important to note that like all of our privacy policies, this one is legally enforceable by the FTC, which has helped us clarify our practices and policies through comments and questions. Read the full post 0 comments