What Was Search Like in 2001? Google Knows

By 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.

  • there was no iraq war

  • actually september 11 had not happened yet

  • Man, Google sucked in 2001.

  • zaidybaby

    Thank heavens things evolve and get better. All of the best to Google and Sitepoint, may we be even more surprised at the search engine and site in a gazillion years to come.

  • Love this gem from a SitePoint article by Matt Mickiewicz in 2001: “The more often you update your site, the more visitors you will get. Change your site at least once a week.”

    How times have changed :-)

  • John

    Look up SEO!

  • kristina

    Wow, Osama Bin Laden had some suspicious activity..
    and Myspace wasn’t even around

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