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Past Search Engines – The Evolution

Timeline of search engine logos

Past Search Engines – The Evolution

We all know what a Search Engine is – and how we use them in everyday life. But can you remember the time before Google? 

Here’s a timeline of the evolution of the Search Engine…

1989 – Archie was the very first search engine, that searched FTP sites to create an index for downloadable files, but not the contents for each site.

1993 – Aliweb was created. This crawled meta info and allowed users to submit web pages that they wanted to, although people didn’t know how to submit their sites!

1994 – Lycos website went public with 54,000 documents and ranked by relevance

1994 – Yahoo was created, which began as a collection of web pages that included man-made descriptions with each URL, and as they increased in size they became a searchable directory.

1995 – Excite was created, and the idea of this search engine was to use statistical analysis to provide efficient searches.

1995 – Altavista was the first search engine with unlimited bandwidth, natural language enquiries and advanced searching techniques.

1996 – Ask Jeeves is created – human editors tried to match search queries and rank by popularity. Unfortunately, this meant it was easy to spam

1996 – BackRub is created, which is a search engine utilised backlinks for search, and ranked pages based on how many links it had from other sites.

1997 – Google is born! Its algorithm is able to yield relevant search results at a very quick rate.

1998 – MSN is created, but relies on other networks until Google provides their backlinks.

2006 – Google acquires Youtube, which is now the second largest search engine.

2007 – Google created “Universal Search.” 

2009 – MSN becomes ‘Bing’

2010 – Google Instant shows real-time search results for users as they enter a query.

2011 – Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft (Bing) create Which intentions of a more structured internet.

2014 – Yahoo! becomes the default search engine for Mozilla Firefox in the US.

2015 – Google unleashes Mobilegeddon to force websites to add mobile-friendly websites. The change acknowledges the rapid rise in mobile search use.

2017 – Google updates punish sites that use pop ups that are not mobile friendly


And there we have it, a timeline of all the Past Search Engines! With the internet ever changing, search engines will have to update and change in order to keep up with peoples changing needs.


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Since then we’ve diversified our Paid Search offering but remain one of the best in the game at PPC.

Rebecca is a Digital Marketing Coordinator at Siren Search.

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