Google announced yesterday that the company is indexing 200 years of newspaper content. Everyone will be able to search the indexes free of charge. However, purchasing the full article may cost a modest amount of money. The content will come from publishers and aggregators such as The New York Times, Time magazine, The Guardian, LexisNexis, and Factiva, many of which charge fees for archived content.
The companies that already provide old newspapers see this as a major revenue opportunity. In the past, many of the companies only sold to libraries or others who would purchase a lot of historical content. Now Google will provide these same publishers with a major new revenue steam: the general public. Companies like LexisNexis never before had a practical method of reaching the general public. Google now provides that path. What's more, publishers don't have to share the wealth with Google.
Google will not receive any payment from publishers' content fees, advertising, or from supplying traffic. Search results will be ranked by relevance, without any influence from publishers. Google will not make money directly from the service, at least not at the beginning. The company might eventually add advertising to Google News Archive Search.
So why offer it? Google's mission is to make all the world's information available. The company doesn't care whether the information it indexes is available for free or if there is a charge; Google simply wants to point to the information.
The more information the company offers, the more people will use its search engine. In addition, small publishers that participate in the service may choose to use Google's fee-based Checkout payment service to collect payments, allowing Google to collect small fees for handling the transactions
The Google News Archive Search is available to everyone right now. However, this is a new and growing service. It has been “seeded” with a few million articles for opening day but is expected to grow by several times that amount in coming months.
You can access the Google News Archive Search at http://news.google.com/archivesearch