What Was Search Like in 2001? Google Knows

Josh Catone

As part of its 10th birthday celebration, Google has dusted off a vintage search index circa 2001 and slapped together a scale replica (as in searching 1.3 billion URLs instead of a trillion) of the old search engine. The Search 2001 site looks like the Google of 7 years ago (which is apparently as far back as they could easily go), including the old logo, and lack of vertical search links.

The real fun is in searching the old index, though. Google’s blog makes some suggestions: “‘iPod‘ did not refer to a music player, ‘youtube‘ was nonsense, and if you were looking for ‘Michael Phelps,’ chances are you meant the scientist, not the swimmer.”

A search for “SitePoint” finds just 2,920 results, as opposed to greater than 1.8 million today, including links to the old forums URL (sitepointforums.com) and mention of a goofy old tagline of ours: “Helping Business Grow Online!”

The Google 2001 search includes links to Internet Archive Wayback Machine versions of the sites in its index, which means you can search and browse like it’s 7 years ago. Do you remember when SitePoint looked like this?

Some other fun searches:

  • [ruby on rails] = a type of shelving unit
  • [facebook] = rather prophetically, a searchable database of Harvard students
  • [segway] = the Science Education Gateway at Berkley
  • [firefox] = a personal homepage
  • [wii] = Willamette Industries, makers of “superior forest products”
  • [android] = a bot for Counter-Strike
  • [web 2.0] = for some reason, Netscape.com

What are some other fun searches that you’ve found? Share your favorites in the comments below.