Google's plan to digitize all the newspapers of the world and make them available through its Search Portal marks yet another step the giant has taken in its inexorable march towards a global information monopoly.
The project initially started back in 2006 when Google partnered with New York Times and Washington Post to put their archives online; what was essentially a warming up has now been extended to the rest of the world, with the one aim of digitizing every story that has been published; "from the smallest local weekly paper up to the largest national daily" as published on their Official website.
Google Newspapers (or whatever name it will take), will keep the original format of the newspapers intact, including the photos, headlines and advertising and will see Google partner with archiving specialists, Proquest and Heritage.
Users will be able to look for keywords and possibly download the newspapers as PDF files for offline consumption.
But Google still has to look for permission from the major Newspaper entities before scanning their archives - for free - in order to avoid the imbroglio and mayhem it caused when Google unilaterally scanned books without asking publishers for their permission.
Revenue will be derived from placing adverts next to the newspaper content and sharing part of it with the newspapers themselves (essentially a great way to ride the long tail wave); the service will also be used to push print and online subscriptions.
It would be interesting to see whether Google does the same thing with audio and video content via Youtube