Google’s 9th Birthday: A Look Back at the Early Days

Lots of mentions today on blogs about Google’s ninth birthday. I thought it might be fun to fire up Copernic Desktop Search and find my first mention of Google and see what I said then.
I found a column I wrote for The Indiana Lawyer in March 1999 called “Internet Toolbox for Legal Research” that discussed ways to use the Internet for legal and other research. Tons of dead links in that article. It’s amazing how much has changed in nt ver many years and how the whole search engine and legal research landscape have changed.
In the article, I had a list of five tips for using search engines. Tip #1 (which is still quite vailid, although I might now change it to “learn to use Google really well”) contains my original reactions to Google and is fascinating for what it says about how Google has changed the search engine landscape. For Internet old-timers, the names of the search engines I mentioned will be a trip down memory lane.

Learn One Search Engine Well. Each search engine has its strengths and weaknesses. You will find the greatest success when you learn to work within these limitations. While the professional craftsperson may have the right tool for each job, he or she also has a general tool that can be used for most every situation. That’s what search engines are – tools that can be used to give you rough results or get a job done quickly. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the perfect tool – it just gets the job done.
For many years, I’ve used Altavista (http://www.altavista.com) as my general purpose search engine. It is fast and up-to-date. Lately, though, its search screen has become so cluttered with ads and extraneous material that I’ve found it difficult to use. I’ve found myself switching to Google (http://www.google.com), a new search engine that is lightning fast and has spartan, uncluttered screens.
Ask others who use the Internet regularly what search engines they use. Among the major search engines that most people use: AltaVista (http://www.altavista.com), Excite (http://www.excite.com), Google (http://www.google.com), HotBot (http://www.hotbot.com), NorthernLight (http://www.northernlight.com) and Snap (http://www.snap.com). Google and NorthernLight have recently become popular among Internet experts I know.

I’ve always thought that John Batelle did a great job of capturing why Google was such a breath of fresh air in 1998 – 1999 and why so many people moved to it early on in his book, The Search.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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Comments

  1. says

    Definitely a trip down memory lane remembering all those old search engines. The Search is definitely a great book – The Google Story is another interesting read on Google.