Google is expanding efforts to put offline materials online by adding old newspaper content to its Google News Archive application, the company announced on Monday.
The effort uses scanning technology leveraged in Google Book Search, which enables web viewers to read books online as if they were still in their original paper form.
The initiative is intended to "bring old newspapers online and make them searchable and make them discoverable," said Marissa Mayer, Google vice president of products and search, at the TechCrunch50 2008 conference in San Francisco.
Already able to access old content from such newspapers as the Saint Petersburg Times and Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the application is to be expanded to include content from more newspapers.
Users can see original content and view it in the context of the time, Mayer said. She searched, for example, on "Nixon" and "space shuttle program" to bring up old news articles from the past.
"We're launching today with millions of articles," Mayer said.
Google will run its AdSense advertising service as part of the newspaper initiative and plans to share revenues with publisher partners.
TechCrunch50 features a host of startup companies pitching new online wares to potential investors. The morning's proceedings focused on social networking and applications geared toward children as well as information services for news and stock analysis.
Among the presentations was one for blahgirls.com, offering an entertainment news service geared toward young girls and featuring sharp commentary from animated characters. TV and movie actor Ashton Kutcher, also of MTV's Punk'd fame, served as pitchman for blahgirls, which is the property of Katalyst Media.
"Blahgirls is a celebrity pop culture environment," Kutcher said.
"Blahgirls is a lot more than just posting videos on the Internet," he said. "It is an interactive hub for all things celebrity."
Another project featured was DotSpots, enabling bloggers and individuals to annotate text on news sites with comments, videos, and photos. Shryk, meanwhile, is offering an online service to teach children financial literacy via its iThryv web property.
StockMood.com, from Quant the News, provides analysis of stock-related news, looking to gauge sentiment and measure potential impact on a stock price or direction. The company seeks to bring investment analytics to the common investor.
Also at the event, investors offered their perspectives on getting new businesses funded. Investory Yossi Vardi said money will be scarce because the industry is sitting tight, given the current economic climate. But investor Ron Conway said he had not seen a change the volume of deals flowing in Silicon Valley.
Conway, an early investor in Google, recalled that at the time, he was looking at the future of search. "When I talked to them, I was looking into a crystal ball," Conway said.
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