History of Modern Search Technology - 1945 to Google

I recently updated my article about search engine history.

Any and all feedback is appreciated.

Published: September 26, 2006 by Aaron Wall in technology


September 26, 2006 - 4:24pm

Hi Aaron
I have just printed your article and will read later.

One comment (not related to the document itself) I could make would be to suggest that you offer a little print icon somewhere on the page, which could maybe open into a separate window with just the text of the article, in maybe a nice sans-serif font.

This would just avoid printing out about 5 pages of the navigation on the site - slightly better for filing and organising later on.

You can fix these up automatically / dynamically with some simple php.

I would also recommend the book Where Wizards Stay Up Late as a fantastic in-depth read about the ARPANET project and the "techie" history of the web.



September 26, 2006 - 5:00pm

Believe it or not, but it's the most comprehensive article about the history of search engines that I have ever read.

Very well written and nicely organized and must have taken alot of time to compile it! :)

September 26, 2006 - 6:51pm

Very nice read.

OT: BTW, I always use tab to change the focus from Name -> email -> blog url, then -> comments, but it just focuses the main logo at the top. And i always forget, so i have to scroll back down. A pain for long posts. Any chancey ou could sort it out ;)
(just use tabindex)


September 27, 2006 - 12:00am

This is small but i thought i would mention it..

Advanced Research Projects Agency Network:

ARPANet is the network which came eventually led to the internet.

I don't think you need the word "came"

September 27, 2006 - 1:02am


September 27, 2006 - 4:47pm

Best history I've every seen. I like to think I have a good grasp of Internet history, but I've been proven wrong. Thanks Aaron. At least I still have Star Wars. :)

September 29, 2006 - 12:50am

I'm not sure, but the factoid about "Archie" being shortened from Archives because of Unix standards doesn't ring true.

Also, you might mention that the first version of AdWords as we now know it was called "AdWords Select" while the old CPM banner version was phased out.

And maybe clarify what this means: "they disallowed double serving of ads to one website." I.e. each SERP page would not show multiple ads that took a user to the same destination or domain.

As you cover all 3 major PPC programs, I think it'd be good to note how much evolution Google has gone through. They've added tons of features - not all have made it easier, but it's very efficient at handling large numbers of keywords.

And I'd definitely mention that it's the cash cow that powers everything else Google is able to do.

October 1, 2006 - 7:21pm

interesting article, I did not know enough about search engine history before reading this article, nice work.

October 2, 2006 - 7:53pm

Great history regarding search engines! I was at Digital when Alta Vista first came on the scene!
I've been ripped off by so many companies claiming to put me at the top of major search engines. The only thing so far is money gone forever and no top search results. I have the correct words so how do I optimize my site to be seen without spending thousands? I'm not interested in any search engines except for Yahoo & Google.
Thanks, Pam

February 14, 2009 - 1:01am

The typo occurs at the very start of the essay; please fix it!

February 14, 2009 - 10:13am

Thanks for the catch Ferruccio! :)

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