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Google launches Life mag archive

Google launches Life mag archive

The images are surprisingly high quality, and available for free viewing in JPEG format with no watermarks.

If you've always wanted a quick and easy way to get your hands on the iconic covers of Life and Time magazines, Google has just made your day: the two companies have teamed up to offer digital versions of the famous photographs.

Available from any Google search – simply use the term source:life when entering your criteria – the service offers surprisingly high resolution versions of images stretching right the way back through the US magazine's history.

Although all the images are available free of charge, the company isn't giving away the crown jewels: each image is still held under copyright, and if you want a legit version to hang in your bedroom you'll want to check out the link on each result page offering framed copies of each picture.

If you particularly like an image, there's even a rating system which allows anyone with a Google account to score an image out of five stars, although there doesn't appear to be any way to sort content by rating at this time.

The archive offers an often surprising glimpse into American pop culture history, with cover images given over to people as diverse as co-founder of Apple Steve Jobs and and former US president Ronald Reagan, with the occasional foray into cartoons lampooning political figures of the time.

Although the search includes almost every cover product, along with several photographs used in each edition, the archive doesn't extend to actual articles or scans of internal pages – which is a shame, but perhaps understandable. Even without the contents, there's a treasure trove of information here for anyone interested in US history and politics – although the lack of central index and inability to jump to a cover for a particular issue or date does make things more of a challenge than they should be.

Going to redecorate your room with some Life or Time imagery, or is the iconic magazine only of import to those across the pond? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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