The 2000s were notable as the first full decade of consumer search. The first decade ever where you could try to sum up what happened in search, as a consumer product. And what happened, in a word, was Google.
In the 1990s, Google barely existed. If search were a religion, it was polytheistic. There were a variety of search gods — Infoseek, Excite, Lycos and more. Yahoo was more powerful than the others, but it didn’t rule supreme.
In the 2000s, Google effectively swept aside those other gods. Search became monotheistic. Search become Google. It literally became Google, as people began to commonly say they’d “googled” something rather than searched for it.
Where will things go in the 2010s? I’ll make some predictions about that at the end of this series. But first, a recap of the past decade of search.
A series? Yes, this recap will be presented as a series of articles. Each article will focus on a particular year in the 2000s.
Originally, I’d planned a single article that contained everything. However, it turned out that the 2000s were a pretty big decade. I decided putting all the years into a single article was too overwhelming to read. In addition, I’m still finishing up the last two years. So I’m publishing what I have now, so that I get the decade in review out before we’re into a new decade!
Every day or two this month, I plan to release a new installment in this series. All the years will be linked to from this page. So you can bookmark it and keep up, or subscribe to our news feed, and you’ll be notified when a new part is available.
The review doesn’t cover everything that happened in search. To keep it digestible for web readers, I’ve been ruthless in trying to summarize what I think were the major developments (others might disagree with my choices, of course). The summary is also Google-heavy. That’s because over time, developments at other search engines were often eclipsed by later Google moves.
For example, it was a big deal when Amazon launched its A9 search engine in 2004. However, A9 didn’t make my summary — despite having been a pioneer in some search areas such as street level photography (it had “Block View” before Google had “Street View”).
Why? Amazon effectively wiped out all that was unique with A9 in 2006. Why again? Because A9 hadn’t shown any market gains against Google, plus the driving force behind A9 — Udi Manber – went to work at Google.
As you’ll see in this review, that’s the story of the decade, when it comes to search. All roads seemingly lead to Google. Or if they didn’t, rather than being superhighways, they were small country roads used by few.
- 2000 In Review: AdWords Launches; Yahoo Partners With Google; GoTo Syndicates
- 2001 In Review: Search Engine Marketing Gets Respect, As Does Search Generally
- 2002 In Review: Google Powers AOL; AdWords Go Cost-Per-Click