Another neat-but-currently-useless feature from Google (GOOG): The company announced today users can now search old copies of some print magazines on Google Book Search. Every page, including ads, is displayed, and the table of contents is hyperlinked.
But the collection of mags on Google is still tiny, and Google doesn’t provide a list of its magazines, which makes trying to find anything on the site a frustrating exercise. So far no Time, Newsweek, US News, the Economist, etc.
For mags we could find, the inventory was all over the place. Men’s Health has a relatively fresh Oct 2008 issue already up on Google, while the most recent New York magazine comes from the end of 1997.
Will Google get more content, enough to provide a resource worth going to as a first stop? Maybe not. For cash-strapped media companies, you can still sell ads against old content hosted on your own Web site — you can’t if its scanned into Google.