Google – Cultural Digital Archive?

    February 14, 2007

Marc’s The Video Library of Alexandria post on O’Reilly Radar connected a set of dots for me that I can’t believe I never connected on my own.

In that, it certainly seems like an appropriate purchase for Google, much like DejaNews before it.

That one sentence made me realize that Google has been buying up a lot of digital information archives and repositories of various types: DejaNews (Usenet News), Keyhole / Google Earth (Satellite data), and YouTube (Video). When you combine that with their archive(s) of the web, the growing mountain of email stored in Gmail’s perpetually expanding mailboxes, and book scanning, it’s quite impressive.

In casual thinking, I can only think of a few on-line information repositories that I care about that Google doesn’t own.

1. Yahoo! Groups archives (currently not indexed by any search engine, which is a tragedy in my mind)

2. Wikipedia

3. The Internet Archive

4. The Library of Congress (but they may just scan the whole damn thing)

5. The National Weather Service

Notice that #1 is owned by a competitor, #2 and #3 can’t really be bought, and the last two are paid for by US taxpayers.

A few years from now I might be convinced that Flickr belongs on that list too.

What other big sources of data would you like to see outlive the organizations that currently control (or own) them?



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About the Author

Jeremy Zawodny is the author of the popular Jeremy Zawodny’s blog. Jeremy is part of the Yahoo search team and frequently posts in the Yahoo! Search blog as well.

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