Andy Baio, The Medium: “Two months ago, Larry Page said the company’s outgrown its 14-year-old mission statement. Its ambitions have grown, and its priorities have shifted. Google in 2015 is focused on the present and future. Its social and mobile efforts, experiments with robotics and artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles and fiberoptics. As it turns out, organizing the world’s information isn’t always profitable. Projects that preserve the past for the public good aren’t really a big profit center. Old Google knew that, but didn’t seem to care. The desire to preserve the past died along with 20% time, Google Labs, and the spirit of haphazard experimentation. Google may have dropped the ball on the past, but fortunately, someone was there to pick it up. The Internet Archive is mostly known for archiving the web, a task the San Francisco-based nonprofit has tirelessly done since 1996, two years before Google was founded. The Wayback Machine now indexes over 435 billion webpages going back nearly 20 years, the largest archive of the web. For most people, it ends there. But that’s barely scratching the surface. Most don’t know that the Internet Archive also hosts:
- Books. One of the world’s largest open collections of digitized books, over 6 million public domain books, and an open library catalog.
- Videos. 1.9 million videos, including classic TV, 1,300 vintage home movies, and 4,000 public-domain feature films.
- The Prelinger Archives. Over 6,000 ephemeral films, including vintage advertising, educational and industrial footage.
- Audio. 2.3 million audio recordings, including over 74,000 radio broadcasts, 13,000 78rpm records, and 1.7 million Creative Commons-licensed audio recordings.
- Live music. Over 137,000 concert recordings, nearly 10,000 from the Grateful Dead alone.
- Audiobooks. Over 10,000 audiobooks from LibriVox and more.
- TV News. 668,000 news broadcasts with full-text search.
- Scanning services. Free and open access to scan complete print collections in 33 scanning centers, with 1,500 books scanned daily.
- Software. The largest collection of historical software in the world.
That last item, the software collection, may start to change public perception and awareness of the Internet Archive.”