Search Engine History Events

April 6, 2015

Search Engine History Events

The average internet user can search for just about anything on any topic related to any keywords that they can think of. Before you even complete your key phrase or sentence, Google and other search engines come up with the results, most of which are relevant to what you’re looking for. That however, was not the case just over two decades ago. Search engine history, while not essentially very old, has been quite eventful. Let’s take a walk down the years on a timeline of how it all started and what were the defining moments in search engine history that have made query prompts so highly responsive.

Searh Engine History Events

Search Engine History Events Timeline

The Early Years

1990 – Archie Arrives Without a V

Known as the first search engine, Archie was an FTP site that hosted an index of directory listings that were downloaded. However, because of limited space, only listings were available without any content.

1992 – VLib

Time Berners-Lee founded the Virtual Library on a CERN webserver that hosted various webservers of that time.

1993 – Excite, World Wide Web Wanderer, ALIWEB, and Primitive Web Search

Excite was founded by six Stanford undergraduates and was bought in January, 1999 for $6.5 billion by @Home. Bankruptcy eventually followed suit until its acquisition by Infospace for $10 million in 2001.

World Wide Web Wanderer was founded by Matthew Gray and introduced Bot counts on active web servers that measured the internet growth. Bot was upgraded to capture URLs eventually, and the database was called Wandex.

ALIWEB was created by Martijn Koster and allowed users to submit pages with descriptions. That being said; many people didn’t actually know how to submit sites.

Primitive Web Search deployed linear search to capture page title and header info. However, unless the search query had the exact title match, it would not show any results.

The New Era Search Engine History Events

1994 – Yahoo!, Web Crawler & AltaVista

AltaVista offered unlimited bandwidth for the first time and allowed natural language queries. Yahoo would eventually buy AltaVista after Overture’s acquisition in 2003.

WebCrawler became the first popular search engine that indexed entire pages.

Jerry Yang and David Filo founded Yahoo and increased its influence on the web over the years. That being said; Yahoo! did not start operating as a search engine until 2002.

1996 – The Invention of Google

Larry and Sergey start working on BackRub, and rank pages using citations. Hence, the higher ranked sites had multiple citation notations; accounting for reliability. It would however, take many years before Google would become the dominant search engine.

1997 – Ask Jeeves

A natural language search engine was launched that used clusters to organize websites based on popularity. IAC would buy out Ask Jeeves in 2005 for $1.85 billion and rename it to

1998 – MSN Search Launch

MSN Search was launched and relied on Overture, Inktomi, and Looksmart for queries until Google proved their backlink model was more effective.

Google meanwhile was officially launched and before the turn of the century, AOL chose Google as their search partners.

Search Engine History Events, Turn Of the Millennium

Since the search engines history events, turn of the millennium, Google’s place in search engine history has been cemented. In 2000, the Google Toolbar was launched, and AdWords were relaunched for paid advertisements. Yahoo chose Google as their search partner, meaning that the leading websites of the time were relying on Google.

In 2003, Google introduced Adsense for targeted advertisements. While MSN did its best to rebrand its MSN Live Search to Bing, Google has since then, only improved its search algorithms and has cemented its place in the search engine world. As of today, there are trillions of search queries every day, computed in a matter of seconds; a phenomenon which was once, only deemed as a fantastical vision!