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September 30, 2008

Google Time Machine: the Web in 2001

Google brought back the index from January 2001 to show how many things have changed in almost 8 years. At that time, Google's index included 1,326,920,000 web pages and it was the most comprehensive index of a search engine.

Google explains that the index from January 2001 is the earliest available. "Well, for various technical reasons that are too boring to go into, earlier versions of our index aren't readily accessible. But we did still want to offer users a chance to search an older index as a way of looking back at web history, and the January 2001 index is the best we can do."

As Wikipedia informs us, January 2001 was an important month: Wikipedia is founded, George W. Bush becomes the 43rd President of the United States and Apple introduces iTunes.

A search for Gmail returned results about a Linux mail client and the Garfield email service:

If you search for Google, you'll find references to very few Google services: Google Directory, Google Toolbar and specialized search engines for Apple, Linux, but not yet Microsoft.

In 2001, Google's algorithms were less smart than today:

Unfortunately, Google doesn't use the interface from 2001 and the exclamation mark has been removed from the logo in 1999. Here's an original Google SERP from May 2001, courtesy of Christina Wodtke:

Another anachronism is this error page titled "2001 problems":

For more Google nostalgia, don't miss Google's special site for the 10th birthday.

{ via Blogoscoped }

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