Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One small backstep for Google-One giant punch for mankind.

      Once my favorite search engine, Google, has just lost my respect.  With all the money that Google has, why do they have to cut many tools that librarians have come to rely on?  According to typical stock reports, (http://finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=GOOG) Google made 33.3 Billion dollars this year, and it has a 36% growth rate predicted.  Now why do they think they have to trim operating expenses?   They have enough cash to bail out a few small European countries and they have chopped, without warning, News Timeline?
      Google announced in August that they were removing the News Timeline from their Google News Archive search page.  And... why?  No explanation? This incredible resource for schools is now MIA.    Here's what it looked like when it was in its fledgling stages in 2009.  As they grew, they added newspaper content that only helped teachers easily navigate primary sources.   They seemed so proud of this new idea when they launched it in 2009.

        Google has just fostered a greater digital divide in America with this decision.  Is it likely that someday the only free content will be fee-based?  Will they cut their Google Books next?  Will Getty images and Reuters be the sole source providers of quality images.   (Shout the wiki media cheer here.  Clap for Creative Commons!)  History has been told in news form and we are likely to see our news sources disappear. 
         Fast forward ten years:  With the demise of print sources, it is likely that many archives will disappear.  Where will quality resources be when they haven't been printed?  At least the small publishers had an opportunity for a big behemoth such as Google to help them archive their print as long as they were printing.   Also on the Google chopping block were: Google Image Swirl, Google Squared and more as mentioned in this Larry Page, Google Post . Now while I understand the rational behind some of the recent chops, the News Timeline was a shock. Visit the Google Lab site and see which applications were casualties and which "graduated."  http://www.googlelabs.com/ 
    While we know the APP market will continue to grow and the computer use will shrink, I believe there is merit to leave valuable products in existence that were for the benefit of mankind.  After all, what else is Google going to do with the $33 billion which will grow to $44 billion next year?    Excuse my soap box, but in education we sincerely appreciated every great free source, Larry Page.  


  1. It is unfortunate to see all these features disappearing. However, I find that the "Timeline" was somewhat unreliable; I always found some recent documents in the 1960s and 70s section of the timeline; sometimes it was just a few, sometimes it was many; I'm not sure how well students would deal with the inconsistency.

    I did find this Google newspaper search which seems not to promise as much as timeline did in theory, but which seems to deliver better on this lesser promise.


  2. Thanks Mark We'll have to check this out. plus ... in the hatchet swinging they cut the custom search tool which many used for newspapers, I understand.