Happy Birthday GOOGLE!

The world’s greatest internet search engine and fastest growing company, Google, turns 13 today.
I am not sure how that translates into ‘internet years,’ but so far the company itself is still growing and continues to adapt for tomorrow’s generation.

I’d thought it’ll be a good idea to look back and experience search-engine -life before Google’s 1998 global release….

WebCrawler (1994): Still Alive. WebCrawler was the first internet search engine to provide full text search.  The website is a metasearch engine that blends the top search results from Google, Yahoo!, Bing Search, Ask.com, About.com, MIVA, LookSmart and other popular search engines. This was the educational website during the 90’s that every teacher made you use.

Lycos (1994): Still Alive. Lycos is a university spin-off that began as a research project by Michael Loren Mauldin of Carnegie Mellon University in 1994.  Lycos enjoyed several years of growth during the 1990s and became the most visited online destination in the world in 1999, with a global presence in more than 40 countries.  In 1997, it became one of the first profitable internet businesses in the world.  In order to say alive during the Google-Generation, Lycos has also encompass a network of email, webhosting, social networking, and entertainment websites to their search engine.

Yahoo (1994): Believe it or not, Yahoo is older than Google. The website still has it going on. David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web was a directory of other websites, organized in a hierarchy, as opposed to a searchable index of pages. In April 1994, “David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web” was renamed “Yahoo!” The company also owned “GeoCities,” which accounted for the third-most-browsed site on the World Wide Web.

Infoseek (1995): Alive-ish. Changed Name to “Go.com.”   Infoseek was bought by The Walt Disney Company in 1998, and the technology was merged with that of the Disney-acquired Starwave to form the Go.com network. Since then it has been replaced with Yahoo! search and is no longer in original use.

AltaVista (1995):  Death Bed.  AltaVista’s  was an immediate success. Traffic increased steadily from 300,000 hits on the first day to more than 80 million hits a day two years later. The ability to search the web, and AltaVista’s service in particular, became the subject of numerous articles and even some books. It was bought by Yahoo in 1997, but its popularity declined with the rise of Google in 1998.  On May 2011, the website will be shutdown

Exite (1995): Alive. Launched in 1994, as an online service offering a variety of content, including an Internet portal, a search engine, a web-based email, instant messaging, stock quotes, and a customizable user homepage. Was bought by Ask Jeeves in 2005 due to bankruptcy issues

HotBot (1996): Alive. Who could ever forget the neon green background?  Launched in May 1996 by Wired Magazine, it  used a “new links” strategy of marketing, claiming to update its search database more often than its competitors. HotBot was one of the first search engines to offer the ability to search within search results. In 1998 Lycos bought HotBot and completely redesigned it.


AOL Search
(1997): Alive. The thing about AOL Search was that you needed AOL on your computer, and in order to have AOL on your computer you needed to suffer through 10-15minutes of  “the dial up tone.”  That all changed in 2000 when DSL/Cable internet came in.

DogPile (1998): Still Alive. Dogpile began operation in November 1996 and is a metasearch engine that “fetches” results from Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Ask.com, About.com and several other popular search engines, including those from audio and video content providers. The Dogpile search engine earned the J.D. Power and Associates award for best Residential Online Search Engine Service in both 2006  and 2007. In July 2010, Dogpile was ranked the 770th most popular website in the U.S., and 2548th most popular in the world. Guess who is number one? Just guess.

Ask Jeeves (1998): Alive. Name changed to ‘Ask.com.’  The original idea behind Ask Jeeves was to allow users to get answers to questions posed in everyday, natural language, as well as traditional keyword searching. The current Ask.com still supports this, with added support for math, dictionary, and conversion questions.  Currently “Jeeves” no longer works for ‘Ask.com’ and has respectfully retired.  Rumor has it that he  went off to travel the world on his boat. Some say that he has been spotted in England….here.

Some others include….

Wishing Google a happy birthday once more makes me wonder: How come nobody wishes these other guys a happy birthday? They’ve been on a lot longer than Google has. They have endured more. Suffered more. Experienced more. The 90’s wasn’t a pretty era to live in, especially with the bright neon color-clashing, but they did it. It’s been nearly two decades and they have yet to surrender (except you AltaVista, RIP ). So next time you visit Google, remember these other guys, because they are the ones who actually started it all. They are the ones who deserve a pat on the back, not Google.

So Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday to you ALL.

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One response to “Happy Birthday GOOGLE!

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