Google Inc. has opened an online photo gallery that will feature millions of images from Life magazine’s archives that have never been seen by the public before.
The new service, available at http://images.google.com/hosted/life
, debuted Tuesday with about 2 million photos. Eventually, Google plans to scan all 10 million photos from Life’s library so they can be viewed on any computer with an Internet connection.
About 97 percent of Life’s archives have not been publicly seen, according to Life.
The photos can be printed out for free as long as they aren’t being used as part of an attempt to make money. Time Warner Inc., Life’s parent company, hopes to make money by selling high-resolution, framed prints. The orders will be processed through Qoop.com.
Life’s archives include photos from the Civil War as well as some of the most memorable moments from the 20th century, including the Zapruder film capturing John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
Google has been indexing a wide variety of information that previously wasn’t available online as part of its efforts to lure even more traffic to its popular search engine. For the past four years, Google has been scanning millions of books stored in dozens of libraries around the world.
The Life partnership represents Google’s biggest undertaking in professional photography. Google hopes to work out similar arrangements with the owners of other large photo archives, said R.J. Pittman, a director of product management.
The collection includes pictures from renowned photojournalists such as Alfred Eisenstaedt, Margaret Bourke-White, Gordon Parks and W. Eugene Smith.
The LIFE photo archive also includes the Zapruder film of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, The Mansell Collection from London and Hugo Jaeger’s pictures of Nazi-era Germany from 1937-1944.
Time said 97 percent of the photographs have never been seen by the public.
“Millions of images have been scanned and made available on Google Image Search today with all 10 million images to be available in the coming months,” Time said in a statement.
“LIFE will now reach a broader audience and engage them online with the incredible depth and breadth of the LIFE Photo Archive from serious world events, to Hollywood celebrities to whimsical photographs.” LIFE president Andy Blau said.
R.J. Pittman, director of product management at Google, said “bringing millions of never-before-seen offline images online aligns with Google’s mission to organize all the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Time said the photos are available for free for personal and research purposes. The copyright and ownership of all images remains with Time.
In September, Time and the Getty Images photo service announced the launch early next year of a new website, LIFE.com, featuring photos from the LIFE archives and Getty Images.
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