Search Engines Through the Years

For many of us, the 90’s was the era when we first started using the Internet. Using the Internet gave us an opportunity to have access to a world of information from our fingertips. That information could include details on data recovery, raid data recovery as well as hard drive recovery . However, finding information through search engines was not as easy as it is today.

For most of the early days of the Internet, sites were submitted to directories, which is where many users would go for information. Good directories such Yahoo, Alta Vista, Excite and Lycos began appearing in the early to mid 90’s as places to go to find information. Generally, the information was divided into many categories for users. This method of filing had pluses and minuses. For example, to find information on companies or businesses that only had one product line, it was fairly easy to go to the correct category and retrieve the info. However, when you were looking for a website that was harder to categorize, it was much more of a challenge, and demanded a bit of searching.

Starting in the later portion of the 90’s newer search engines began to pop up. These search engines began to incorporate search functionality into their websites. This made retrieval of data much easier. During those years, search sites such as Ask Jeeves, MSN Search, Google and Northern Light began operation, and the face of searching for information changed forever.

However, with the advent of new technology in the search engines, the websites needed to continue to change to incorporate the technology. The biggest change was the ability to give searchers, not only links to the sites they were looking for, but also bits of information that is contained on the page they are searching. This one change saved searchers countless time by not having to click on web links that were not pertinent.

The advances in technology did come with a cost. Many of the original search engines either ceased operation or merged with other search engines. The search engine websites that went away include Excite (which is part of Ask Jeeves), Infoseek (now part of, and Inktomi (which was purchased by Yahoo).

One example of the changes in the search engine field was that of Northern Light. In 1997, the search engine was launched, utilizing the latest technology for seeking information. In its time, Northern Light was one of the best search engines; however, it had problems competing with all of the other search engines. In 2002, the company gave up on trying to gain market share in this competitive market, and stopped offering their technology to Internet users. Instead, the company decided to direct their attention at having Northern Light be an internal search engine. Today, it is thriving in that market.

The search engine field now is dominated by Google, with additional market share being held by Yahoo and MSN. But, as history shows us, what is true today, may be different in the future, and the same can be said about search engines.

For more information on search engine technology and history, visit the following links:

Google Search Technology – This website talks about the changes in Google’s use of technology in their search engine.

Search History – Resourceful site with many links about search engine history and the Internet.

Future of Search Engine Technology – This article looks ahead to what search engine technology will be like in the near future.

Future of Search Engines – This article looks at advances in search engines and what can be expected in the future.

Search Engine Scene in 2015 – An article that discusses the trends in search engines and projects what they will look like in 2015.

Search Engine (Wikipedia) – The Wikipedia entry discussing search engines.

List of Search Engines – A comprehensive list of the 20 top search engines.

Top Alternative Search Engines – A list of 100 alternatives to the major search engines.

Search engines have evolved tremendously over the past several years, and have become an important part of our online experience. With our reliance on search engines, it is anticipated that we will continue to use them in the future.