As part of its birthday celebration, Google is letting users search an old version of its index — and the results show just how much things have changed over the years. You can step back in time to search Google’s index from January 2001. What was happening that month? George W. Bush first took office, Wikipedia was founded, AOL and Time Warner merged, and the Baltimore Ravens pounded the New York Giants to win Super Bowl XXXV.
As you might guess, there are a few caveats included in this fun, turn-back-the-clock birthday idea:
1.) Google, of course, is actually ten years old now, not 7. As they explain in a FAQ about the 2001 search, “for various technical reasons that are too boring to go into, earlier versions of our index aren’t readily accessible.”
2.) In that same FAQ, Google explains that it’s not exactly like the 2001 version of their search engine: “It’s an approximation, but a pretty good one. The results you see here are indeed taken from our January 2001 index, but as noted above, we’ve removed a fair number of results.”
3.) As Philipp Lenssen points out, that’s not the 2001 Google logo. In fact, the image above shows how Google actually looked as of August 16, 2001. And here are how the results looked as of February 15, 2001:
Minor quibbling aside, it’s pretty fun and almost fascinating to step into this search time warp and see what you can find:
- Search Engine Land was about land surveying and SMX was a coordinated measuring machine
- search engine positioning was as competitive a phrase as search engine optimization
- Matt Cutts wasn’t quite the web celebrity he is today
- social media was pretty much non-existent, and I’m not sure what to make of the results for twitter
Have fun with Google 2001 now, because this old index is only going to be online for about a month.