Back in the day before the internet, radio, or television, newspapers were the primary way that people learnt about what was going on in the world. However given that a lot of this information was written on physical mediums like paper, and using actual printed photographs, accessing some of this via the internet can be difficult.

However Google is hoping to leverage its AI platform to help digitize such information, and are working with the New York Times to digitize the publication’s “morgue”, which is basically a basement storage that houses photos dating back to the 19th century, where an approximate 5 to 7 million images are stored.

Now companies digitizing physical copies of photos and documents isn’t new, but with the use of Google’s AI, not only can this information be scanned, but text accompanying the images will also help provide context about the photo, which in turn allows them to be catalogued and sorted automatically. This also means that in the future trying to access these photos will be easier as they will be searchable based on how they have been archived using Google’s AI system.

According to Google, “Helping The New York Times transform its photo archive fits perfectly with Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. We hope that by sharing what we did, we can inspire more organizations—not just publishers—to look to the cloud, and tools like Cloud Vision API, Cloud Storage, Cloud Pub/Sub, and Cloud SQL, to preserve and share their rich history.”

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