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Google unlocks Life magazine's photo vault

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Few organizations have image archives that rival Life magazine's. With millions of images from 1750s to today, the massive trove contains everything from President Monroe, to Marilyn Monroe, to diners eating roe.

Thanks to Google, the Life archive is now my new favorite time drain. The two joined forces to index much of Life's work and create a searchable online portfolio. Type in terms, names, or years and Google grabs pages and pages of image results. Click through to see the photos in high-resolution – and try to ignore the "Life" watermark in the corner. "Most were never published and are now available for the first time," according to the Google/Life web page.

You can riffle through the photos at Google's special portal site, or do a normal image search and include "source:life" at the end of the query. For example: christian science monitor source:life reveals two photos of a Monitor reporter covering the international monetary conference at Bretton Woods in 1944.

By the way, "source:" and "site:" are two of Google's best search tricks. While searching, you can type in "site:" and any URL to do a full sweep of just that website. Bretton Woods site:csmonitor.com pulls up almost every online reference the Monitor has ever made to the New Hampshire town. Obama site:.gov presents every mention of the president-elect that Google could find on government sites. I've used "site:.gov" on several occasions to hunt for reliable information for articles. (Note: "Source:life" only works on image searches.)


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