New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Science & Tech
20 November 2008

Tantalised by the Big G

Whilst the sensation of rummaging around in history is wholly intoxicating, the possibilities for a

By Iain Simons

Google, clearly feeling a little jumpy having not announced any new products for a few weeks, have pulled out the stops and announced two quite interesting ones in a single day.

Firstly, the gmail team are about to add themes to the web-interface of their wildly popular and economically brilliant email service. Whilst various hacks and lab extensions have been available to improve / augment / complicate the user-experience for some time, this is the first time that Google themselves have rolled up their sleeves and done something with the surface of the app. Now you can enjoy ‘retro notepads’, weather themes that ‘rain on your inbox’ and most worryingly ‘fun characters’ whilst you wait for it to come out of beta.

More impressively, an extraordinary new archive project has been launched which will be dominating your casual browsing and overwhelming your capacity for nostalgia.

Over the next few months the entire LIFE archive of pictures, around 10 million of them, will be being made available for view on google images. An extraordinary collection of the most iconic images of all time make for compelling viewing – although with ‘only’ ten per cent available to date, the archive is already begging for better ways to traverse it. Whilst the sensation of rummaging around in history is wholly intoxicating, the possibilities for a real sense of traveling through it are tantalising.

They did however, manage to finalise the process for purchasing a framed fine art print of any of the pictures (starting from just $79.99) – as ever, their ability to monetise the World’s information is very much out of beta.

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