Friday, December 5, 2008
Library Bytes: LIFE & Google Images
About two weeks ago, Google announced the release of a new feature: digitized images from the archives of LIFE magazine, many of which have never been published before. (Here's an article with more details about the project from Computerworld magazine.) Apparently some of the images date back to 1750, although since they claim they were shot by photographers at LIFE I'm still not sure how they preserved photographs taken before 1840 (someone got their explanation screwed up). Google estimates the digital image package to come to nearly 10 million images, which is an incredible number when you consider that even the largest museums in the world may have only about half that number of objects in their collections. The first group are up already on Google Images, and they look great. There are images from World War II, Academy Award winners, NASA-related events, and so on. My favorites are, of course, the ones from the 19th century. I was quite excited to see so many pictures of Queen Victoria like this one. I wonder if she would declare, "We are amused!"