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Search Engine History: Top 10 Moments in Search Engine Evolution
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Our friends over at Search Engine Journal have a cool post on the history of Search Engines.  It is always fun to reflect on how much change their has been in the world of Search in a relatively short time.  Can you believe that it has been only 15 years since Yahoo was created?  We thought that it would be fun to countdown some of the most memorable moments in the evolution of Search Engines.  We have previously featured the top 100 coolest search engine features ever which is another reminder of just how much the search engines have evolved over the years.

Top 10 Memorable Moments in Search Engine Evolution

#10.  The first search engine of the Web arrives... enter Aliweb.  Established in 1993, http://www.aliweb.com/ has been dubbed "the World's Oldest Search Engine".  Site owners would submit their sites to the Aliweb database where they could include descriptions and keywords related to the web pages that were being submitted.

#9.  MSN Search is launched - way back in 1998, Microsoft's search service MSN was released.  Initially the search engine used Inktomi results for their own search results.  Over the years Microsoft's search has undergone a number of re-branding exercises moving to Windows Live Search in 2006, to Live Search in 2008 finally being re-branded as Bing in May 2009.  The Microsoft Search product was/is the proverbial bronze medalist in the search Olmpics behind Google and Yahoo.  In the summer of 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo came ot an agreement where Microsoft would acquire Yahoo's search offering making the combined engine a distant number two behind Google in North American market share.

#8.  Yahoo Acquires Inktomi - in 2003, Yahoo acquired Inktomi which within a few months, Yahoo uses this technology and begins powering their own Search results which since 2000 were powered by Google and strengthens their search and advertising offering .  http://docs.yahoo.com/docs/pr/release1050.html

#7.  Alta Vista is launched - 1995 saw the release of Alta Vista a somewhat popular search engine that when released was the first search engine to deliver the first multilingual search capabilities on the Internet. Alta Vista which means "a view from above", was created to store every word of every HTML page on the Internet in a fast, searchable index.  Alta Vista was also the first search engine to launch Image, Audio, and Video search capabilities.  The search engine continues to operate today. http://www.altavista.com

#6.  Microsoft and Yahoo Announce Search Deal - the summer of 2009 saw months of speculation and rumor come to an end.  Microsoft and Yahoo had finally announced a deal that would see Microsoft acquire Yahoo's search offering.  The deal means that Microsoft will acquire an exclusive 10 year license to Yahoo!'s core search technologies, and Microsoft will have the ability to integrate Yahoo! search technologies into its existing Web search platforms.  The official press release suggests :
Yahoo! and Microsoft announced an agreement that will improve the Web search experience for users and advertisers, and deliver sustained innovation to the industry. In simple terms, Microsoft will now power Yahoo! search while Yahoo! will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers.

#5.  ASK Jeeves is launched, requires users to submit questions - in 1996, ASK Jeeves was launched which featured the unique option of having users submit a question as their query returning results to answer the queried question.  We have always thought that ASK Jeeves, now simply known as ASK, was ahead of their time.  In terms of semantics and how they return their results with things like their tested ASK 3-D interface. 

With the "merger" of Microsoft and Yahoo, today ASK is the number three search engine in North America in terms of market share.

#4. Google acquires YouTube for $1.6 billion dollars - back in 1996, the world's most popular search engine, Google, acquires popular emerging video site YouTube for an estimated $1.65 billion.  Industry experts and observers across the globe are amazed at the amount paid, but as per usual it was a great move by Google. http://www.google.com/press/pressrel/google_youtube.html.  This story made our top search stories of 2006 coming in at (oddly enough) the number four position.  YouTube becomes the world's second largest search engine in 2009.

#3.  Yahoo is created by Jerry Yang and David Filo - 1994 saw the creation of what would become the world's most visited web property for a time in Yahoo.  What began as a student hobby and evolved into a global brand that has changed the way people communicate with each other, Yahoo quickly became arguably the most popular search engine on the Web.  The history of Yahoo has been well communicated, and while there is a storied past, with the search deal agreed upon between Yahoo and Microsoft in 2008, Yahoo's days as we know it may be numbered.

#2.  Google Launches Adwords - in 2002, Google changed advertising as the world had known it.  Defining online advertising and redefining traditional advertising, Google Adwords establishes a pay per click model that has earned Google billions of dollars since the launch of Adwords in 2002.  According to Google, via Google Adwords, you can:
Run your ads on Google and our advertising network -- no matter what your budget, you'll only pay when people click your ads.

#1.  Google, a future leading global brand, is created - what started out as "Backrub" in 1996, Google was created in 1997 and launched in September of 1998.  The story is now legend as to how Larry Page and Sergey Brin started in a garage begin their quest to organize the World's information basing their algorithms on link popularity and later hundreds of other factors that make up their search algorithm.  Google's IPO in 2004 was one of the most watched and debated initial product offerings of recent memory.  Just over ten years later, Google's valuation comes in at around $140 billion making it the most successful search engine of all time.

Wow, sure brings back some memories eh?  Looking forward to the next ten years in the evolution of search engines.


posted by Jody @ Tuesday, October 20, 2009  
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