Timeline of web search engines

Last updated

This page provides a full timeline of web search engines, starting from the WHOis in 1982, the Archie search engine in 1990, and subsequent developments in the field. It is complementary to the history of web search engines page that provides more qualitative detail on the history.

Contents

Timeline

YearMonthDayEvent typeEvent
1982Pre-web domain search engine WHOis [1] [2] Elizabeth Feinler and her team (who had created the Resource Directory for ARPANET) were responsible for creating the first WHOIS directory in the early 1970s. [3] Feinler set up a server in Stanford's Network Information Center (NIC) which acted as a directory that could retrieve relevant information about people or entities. [4] She and the team created domains, with Feinler's suggestion that domains be divided into categories based on the physical address of the computer. [5]
1990September [6] 10 (released) [6] Pre-web content search engineThe Archie search engine, created by Alan Emtage [7] [8] [9] [10] computer science student at McGill University in Montreal, goes live. The program downloads the directory listings of all the files located on public anonymous FTP (File Transfer Protocol) sites, creates a searchable database of a lot of file names; however, Archie does not index the contents of these sites since the amount of data is so limited it can be readily searched manually. [11] [12] [13] [14]
1991Pre-web search engineThe rise of Gopher (created in 1991 by Mark McCahill at the University of Minnesota) leads to two new search programs, Veronica and Jughead. Like Archie, they search the file names and titles stored in Gopher index systems. Veronica (Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Net-wide Index to Computerized Archives) provides a keyword search of most Gopher menu titles in the entire Gopher listings. Jughead (Jonzy's Universal Gopher Hierarchy Excavation And Display) is a tool for obtaining menu information from specific Gopher servers. While the name of the search engine "Archie" was not a reference to the Archie comic book series, "Veronica" and "Jughead" are characters in the series, thus referencing their predecessor. [13]
1992Virtual library of the web Tim Berners-Lee sets up the Virtual Library (VLib), a loose confederation of topical experts maintaining relevant topical link lists. [13] [14]
1993JuneFirst web robot Matthew K. Gray produces the first known web robot, the Perl-based World Wide Web Wanderer, and uses it to generate an index of the web called the Wandex. [13] [14] [15] However, the World Wide Web Wanderer is intended only to measure the size of the web rather than to facilitate search.
September2First web search engine W3Catalog, written by Oscar Nierstrasz at the University of Geneva, is released to the world. It is the world's first web search engine. It does not rely on a crawler and indexer but rather on already existing high-quality lists of websites. One of its main drawbacks is that the bot accesses each page hundreds of times each day, causing performance degradation. [13] [14] [16] [17]
October/NovemberSecond web search engine Aliweb, a web search engine created by Martijn Koster, is announced. It does not use a web robot, but instead depends on being notified by website administrators of the existence at each site of an index file in a particular format. The absence of a bot means that less bandwidth is used; however, most website administrators are not aware of the need to submit their data. [13] [14]
DecemberFirst web search engine to use a crawler and indexer JumpStation, created by Jonathon Fletcher, is released. It is the first WWW resource-discovery tool to combine the three essential features of a web search engine (crawling, indexing, and searching). [13] [14] [18]
1994JanuaryNew web directory Yahoo!, founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo, launches Yahoo! Directory. [14] It becomes the first popular Web directory. [19]
New web search engine Infoseek is launched. [13] [14]
MarchNew web search engineThe World-Wide Web Worm is released. It is claimed to have been created in September 1993, at which time there did not exist any crawler-based search engine, but it is not the earliest at the time of its actual release. It supports Perl-based regular expressions. [13] [14]
April20New web search engineThe WebCrawler search engine, created by Brian Pinkerton at the University of Washington, is released. [14] Unlike its predecessors, it allows users to search for any word in any webpage, which has become the standard for all major search engines since.
JulyNew web search engine Lycos, a web search engine, is released. [14] It began as a research project by Michael Loren Mauldin of Carnegie Mellon University's main Pittsburgh campus.
1995New search engine Yahoo! Search is launched. It is a search function that allows users to search Yahoo! Directory. [20] [21] It becomes the first popular search engine on the Web. [19] However, it is not a true Web crawler search engine.
New search engine Search.ch is launched. It is a search engine and web portal for Switzerland. [22]
New web directory LookSmart is released. It competes with Yahoo! as a web directory, and the competition makes both directories more inclusive.
DecemberWeb search engine supporting natural language queries Altavista is launched. This is a first among web search engines in many ways: it has unlimited bandwidth, allows natural language queries, has search tips, and allows people to add or delete their domains in 24 hours. [13] [14]
1996New web search engine Robin Li developed the RankDex site-scoring algorithm for search engines results page ranking [23] [24] [25] and received a US patent for the technology. [26] It was the first search engine that used hyperlinks to measure the quality of websites it was indexing, [27] predating the very similar algorithm patent filed by Google two years later in 1998. [28] Larry Page referenced Li's work as a citation in some of his U.S. patents for PageRank. [29] Li later used his Rankdex technology for the Baidu search engine.
January–MarchNew web search engine Larry Page and Sergey Brin begin working on BackRub, the predecessor to Google Search. The crawler begins activity in March. [14]
MayNew web search engine Inktomi releases its HotBot search engine. [14]
OctoberNew web search engine Gary Culliss and Steven Yang begin work at MIT on the popularity engine, a version of the Direct Hit Technologies search engine that ranks results across users according to the selections made during previous searches.
1997AprilNew natural language-based web search engine Ask Jeeves, a natural language web search engine, that aims to rank links by popularity, is released. It would later become Ask.com. [14] [30]
September15New web search engineThe domain Google.com is registered. [30] Soon, Google Search is available to the public from this domain (around 1998).
23New web search engine (non-English) Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich launch their Russian web search engine Yandex and publicly present it at the Softool exhibition in Moscow. The initial development is by Comptek; Yandex would become a separate company in 2000. [31]
1998June5New web directoryGnuhoo, a web directory project by Rich Skrenta and Bob Truel, both employees of Sun Microsystems, launches. [14] [32] It would later be renamed the Open Directory Project.
July–SeptemberNew web search portal MSN launches a search portal called MSN Search, using search results from Inktomi. After many changes to the backend search engine, MSN would start developing in-house search technology in 2005, and later change its name to Bing in June 2009.
AugustNew web search engine Direct Hit Technologies releases their popularity search engine in partnership with HotBot, providing more relevant results based on prior user search activity. [33]
1999MayNew web search engine AlltheWeb, based on the Ph.D. thesis of Tor Egge at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, titled FTP Search, launches. The engine is launched by Egge's company Fast Search & Transfer, established on July 16, 1997. [14]
2000January1New web search portal Baidu, a Chinese company that would grow to provide many search-related services, launches. It was founded by Robin Li, who previously developed RankDex in 1996.
2002-3Web search business consolidation Yahoo! buys Inktomi (2002) and then Overture Services Inc. (2003) which has already bought AlltheWeb and Altavista. Starting 2003, Yahoo! starts using its own Yahoo Slurp web crawler to power Yahoo! Search. Yahoo! Search combines the technologies of all Yahoo!'s acquisitions (until 2002, Yahoo! had been using Google to power its search).
2004-5November (2004) - February (2005)Change in backend providersMicrosoft starts using its own indexer and crawler for MSN Search rather than using blended results from LookSmart and Inktomi.
2004DecemberUser experience Google Suggest is introduced as a Google Labs feature. [34] [35]
2005JanuaryWebmaster toolsTo combat link spam, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft collectively introduce the nofollow attribute. [36]
OctoberNew web search engine Overture Services Inc. owner Bill Gross launches the Snap search engine, with many features such as display of search volumes and other information, as well as sophisticated auto-completion and related terms display. It is unable to get traction and soon goes out of business. [14] [37]
2006December23 (proposed)New human-curated web search engine Wikia Search (Wikia), a search engine based on human curation. [38]
2007January31 (re-proposed)Wikia Search [39]
December24private pre-alpha release of Wikia Search [40] [41]
2008January28New web search engine Cuil, a web search engine created by ex-Googlers that uses picture thumbnails to display search results, launches. [42] It would later shut down on September 17, 2010. [43] [44] [45]
AugustWikia Search toolbar release [46]
September25New web search engine DuckDuckGo (DDG), a web search engine focused on protecting searchers' privacy by not profiling its users, launches. [47] [48]
2009March–Mayshutdown of 'Wikia Search [46]
July29Web search engine consolidation Microsoft and Yahoo! announce that they have made a ten-year deal in which the Yahoo! search engine would be replaced by Bing. Yahoo! will get to keep 88% of the revenue from all search ad sales on its site for the first five years of the deal, and have the right to sell adverts on some Microsoft sites. Yahoo! Search will still maintain its own user interface, but will eventually feature "Powered by Bing™" branding. [49] [50] All Yahoo! Search global customers and partners are expected to be transitioned by early 2012. [51]
August10 (announced)Search algorithm updateNamed Caffeine , it promises faster crawling, expansion of the index, and a near-real-time integration of indexing and ranking. [36] [52] [53] [54] [55]
2010June8Search algorithm updateCaffeine rollout completed and made live [56] [57] [58]
September8User experienceGoogle launches Google Instant, described as a search-before-you-type feature: as users are typing, Google predicts the user's whole search query (using the same technology as in Google Suggest, later called the autocomplete feature) and instantaneously shows results for the top prediction. [59] [60] [61] Google claims that this is estimated to save 2–5 seconds per search query. [62] SEO commentators initially believe that this will have a major effect on search engine optimization, but soon revise downward their estimate of the impact. [36] [63]
November1New web search engine Blekko, a search engine that uses slashtags to allow people to search in more targeted categories, launches. [64]
2011February23–24Search algorithm updateGoogle launches Google Panda, a major update affecting 12% of search queries. The update continues with the earlier work of cracking down on spam, content farms, scrapers, and websites with a high ad-to-content ratio. [36] [65] [66] [67] The rollout is gradual over several months, and Panda will see many further updates.
June2Webmaster tools Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft announce Schema.org, a joint initiative that supports a richer range of tags that websites can use to convey better information. [36] [68] [69] [70]
2012January10Search algorithm update, user experienceGoogle launches Search Plus Your World, a deep integration of one's social data into search. [71] [72] SEO commentators are critical of how the search results favor Google+ and push it to users, compared to more widely used social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. [73] [74] [75] [76]
April24Search algorithm updateGoogle launches its "Webspam update" which would soon become known as Google Penguin. [36] [77] [78] [79] [80]
May10User experienceMicrosoft announces a redesign of its Bing search engine that includes "Sidebar", a social feature that searches users' social networks for information relevant to the search query. [81]
16Search algorithm updateGoogle starts rolling out Knowledge Graph, used by Google internally to store semantic relationships between objects. Google now begins displaying supplemental information about objects related to search queries on the side. [36] [82] [83] [84]
2013April13New web search enginePipilika, first Bangla search engine, launched. [85]
2013July4New web search engineFrench search engine Qwant launched and operated from Paris. It claims that it does not employ user tracking or personalize search results in order to avoid trapping users in a filter bubble. The search engine is available in 26 languages.
August 21–22 (approximate date for rollout), September 26 (announcement)Search algorithm updateGoogle releases Google Hummingbird, a core algorithm update that may enable a more semantic search and more effective use of the Knowledge Graph in the future. [36] [86] [87]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Google Search</span> Search engine from Google

Google Search is a search engine operated by Google. It allows users to search for information on the Internet by entering keywords or phrases. Google Search uses algorithms to analyze and rank websites based on their relevance to the search query. It is the most popular search engine worldwide.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Archie (search engine)</span> FTP search engine

Archie is a tool for indexing FTP archives, allowing users to more easily identify specific files. It is considered the first Internet search engine. The original implementation was written in 1990 by Alan Emtage, then a postgraduate student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. SEO targets unpaid traffic rather than direct traffic or paid traffic. Unpaid traffic may originate from different kinds of searches, including image search, video search, academic search, news search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">AlltheWeb</span>

AlltheWeb was an Internet search engine that made its debut in mid-1999 and was closed in 2011. It grew out of FTP Search, Tor Egge's doctorate thesis at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, which he started in 1994, which in turn resulted in the formation of Fast Search & Transfer (FAST), established on July 16, 1997.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mozilla Corporation</span> American software company

The Mozilla Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation that coordinates and integrates the development of Internet-related applications such as the Firefox web browser, by a global community of open-source developers, some of whom are employed by the corporation itself. The corporation also distributes and promotes these products. Unlike the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, and the Mozilla open source project, founded by the now defunct Netscape Communications Corporation, the Mozilla Corporation is a taxable entity. The Mozilla Corporation reinvests all of its profits back into the Mozilla projects. The Mozilla Corporation's stated aim is to work towards the Mozilla Foundation's public benefit to "promote choice and innovation on the Internet."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Louis Monier</span> American computer scientist

Louis Monier was a cofounder of the Internet search engine AltaVista together with Paul Flaherty and Michael Burrows. After he left AltaVista, he worked at eBay and then at Google. He left Google in August 2007 to join Cuil, a search engine startup. He was Vice President of Products at Cuil. One month after the launch, he left Cuil, citing differences with the CEO. He also was the co-founder and CTO of Qwiki with Doug Imbruce. Qwiki won the TechCrunch Disrupt Award in 2010 and was sold to Yahoo in 2013. In 2014, Yahoo shuttered Qwiki.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Search engine</span> Software system for finding relevant information on the Web

A search engine is a software system that provides hyperlinks to web pages and other relevant information on the Web in response to a user's query. The query is typically done within a web browser or a mobile app, and the search results are presented as a list of hyperlinks, accompanied by textual summaries and images.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Microsoft Bing</span> Web search engine developed by Microsoft

Microsoft Bing, commonly referred to as Bing, is a search engine owned and operated by Microsoft. The service traces its roots back to Microsoft's earlier search engines, including MSN Search, Windows Live Search, and Live Search. Bing offers a broad spectrum of search services, encompassing web, video, image, and map search products, all developed using ASP.NET.

Wikiseek was a search engine that indexed English Wikipedia pages and pages that were linked to from Wikipedia articles. The search engine was funded by a Palo Alto based Internet startup SearchMe and was officially launched on January 17, 2007. Most of the funding came from Sequoia Capital. It used Google ads on its search returns to generate profit. As of 2008 it is no longer active.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wikia Search</span> Defunct free and open-source web search engine by Wikia

Wikia Search was a short-lived free and open-source web search engine launched by Wikia, a for-profit wiki-hosting company founded by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley. Wikia Search followed other experiments by Wikia into search engine technology and officially launched as a "public alpha" on January 7, 2008. The roll-out version of the search interface was widely criticized by reviewers in mainstream media.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cuil</span> Defunct search engine

Cuil was a search engine that organized web pages by content and displayed relatively long entries along with thumbnail pictures for many results. Cuil said it had a larger index than any other search engine, with about 120 billion web pages. It went live on July 28, 2008. Cuil's servers were shut down on September 17, 2010, with later confirmations the service had ended.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">DuckDuckGo</span> American software company and Internet search engine

DuckDuckGo is an American software company that offers a number of software products oriented towards helping people protect their privacy online. The company also provides a private search engine, a tracker-blocking browser extension, email protection, and app tracking protection.

SearchMe was a visual search engine based in Mountain View, California. It organized search results as snapshots of web pages — an interface similar to that of the iPhone's and iTunes's album selection.

Web search engines are listed in tables below for comparison purposes. The first table lists the company behind the engine, volume and ad support and identifies the nature of the software being used as free software or proprietary software. The second and third table lists internet privacy aspects along with other technical parameters, such as whether the engine provides personalization.

Hummingbird is the codename given to a significant algorithm change in Google Search in 2013. Its name was derived from the speed and accuracy of the hummingbird. The change was announced on September 26, 2013, having already been in use for a month. "Hummingbird" places greater emphasis on natural language queries, considering context and meaning over individual keywords. It also looks deeper at content on individual pages of a website, with improved ability to lead users directly to the most appropriate page rather than just a website's homepage.

Google Search, offered by Google, is the most widely used search engine on the World Wide Web as of 2023, with over eight billion searches a day. This page covers key events in the history of Google's search service.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Relationship between Google and Wikipedia</span>

The relationship between Google and Wikipedia was originally collaborative in Wikipedia's early days, when Google helped reduce the pagerank of widespread, uneditable Wikipedia clones that were ostensibly ad farms. In 2007, Google introduced Knol, a direct competitor for community-driven encyclopedia creation, which was subsequently shut down in 2012. Google later supported Wikimedia with numerous grants, and came to rely on Wikipedia for solving the problem of spreading misinformation on YouTube, providing verifiable and well-sourced information to those seeking it. Google and Wikimedia Enterprise started a partnership in 2021.

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