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March 12, 2007

The Creator of the First Web Search Engine Works at Google

"The Web is BIG". A small piece of MIT's homepage from August 15, 1994.

Matthew Gray is the creator of "Wanderer, the first autonomous agent on the web, used to track web growth since 1993". The data is available online and shows that in June 1993 there were 130 web sites (only two on the .com domain), but most Internet activity was on FTP.

Based on this crawler, Matthew created Wandex, the first web search engine. "It was not very good, but again, the web was small. Within a year, numerous better web search engines appeared. But, I am proud to have had the opportunity to be first," says Matthew.

Now he works at Google. "In the years since, I started a web analytics company, earned two degrees, joined a hardware startup, and started a wireless location company. Now, I have come full circle. In February, I started work at Google in Boston. The first month has been great and it's a remarkable company."

The last he did was to map the world, by looking at the frequency of locations mentioned in the books from Google's index. "I wanted to show the Earth viewed from books, where individual mentions of locations in books combine to yield another interpretation of the globe. The intensity of each pixel is proportional to the number of times the location at a given set of coordinates is mentioned across all of the books in Google Books Search."

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