There are a handful of ways to get a digital copy of various magazines, mostly illegal. Now here is one legal way to read them online – via Google Book Search. Google has partnered with publishers to digitize back issues of thousands of popular magazines like New York Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and Ebony and make them searchable through their Book Search engine. You can find magazines from as early as 1970s.
You can search for magazines through Google Book Search. Try queries like [obama keynote convention], [hollywood brat pack] or [world's most challenging crossword] and you'll find magazine articles alongside books results. Magazine articles are tagged with the keyword "Magazine" on the search snippet.
Over time, as we scan more articles, you'll see more and more magazines appear in Google Book Search results. Eventually, we'll also begin blending magazine results into our main Google.com search results, so you may begin finding magazines you didn't even know you were looking for. For now you can restrict your search to magazines we've scanned by trying an advanced search.
Just recently Google made available more than 10 million photos of the popular Life magazine.
[via Official Google Blog]