Old Search Engines

Search Engines of Old

I have been seeing lots of talk about old search engines and kinda looking back at how some of them used to look. It is very interesting to glance back and see what company’s like MSN, Yahoo, and Google have done to get where they are now, whether it be good or bad, so after doing some research I put together a few pictures on some old search engines and how they looked a while back. You can do the same by using The Wayback Machine.


I think it’s interesting to note how much Google has & hasn’t changed! This is an image of the old search engine Google but really they have kept the clean look and, as we know now, their leaning to a more ‘cleaner’ look.

Google Search Engine in December 1998
Google Old Search Engine in December 1998


In the late 90’s, AltaVista was a ‘Google’ and was the most popular search engine of its time. It is now owned and powered by Yahoo. It’s definitely an old search engine for sure.

AltaVista Search Engine in October 1996
AltaVista Old Search Engine in October 1996


Yahoo was an early spark to search and is still popular among tons of online users.

Yahoo Search Engine in October 1996
Yahoo Search Old Search Engine in October 1996


Search has never been the primary focus for MSN, but as time progresses they strive to be noticed
in the search world. They have a ways to go but one day they may just get there – until then – check out this old search engine image of MSN.

MSN Search Engine in December 1998
MSN Old Search Engine in December 1998


CNET in October 1996
CNET in October 1996


Question based search engine instead of the common keyword search was also a popular old search engine in it’s own time. I remember my teachers in school recommend we use this old search engine but at the time, it seemed to work great! AskJeeves fired Jeeves and then became Ask.com and has quickly lost any popularity it once had.

AskJeeves, now Ask.com in April 1997
AskJeeves, now Ask.com in April 1997


Lycos Search Engine in October 1996
Lycos Old Search Engine in October 1996


Currently owned by Ask.com, Excite was an early runner against Yahoo by becoming an ISP & a search engine.

Excite Old Search Engine in October 1996
Excite Old Search Engine in October 1996


DOGPILE Old Search Engine in June 1997
DOGPILE Old Search Engine in June 1997

I think it is so interesting to see how the search industry is changing day by day and even hour by hour. I love being involved in this great industry! And as we all know Google is the best search engine out there currently but what will be the ‘BEST’ in 7 years? We can only stand by and watch.

Do you remember any other great old search engines you used back ‘in-the-day’?

6 thoughts on “Old Search Engines”

  1. Heh – it’s funny – I’ve forgotten about some of these guys.

    Yeah, it used to be a whole lot different – search engines were an emerging concept and they all had a pretty rough time ‘finding their way’ in branding, failing to really establish their presence in the marketplace, let alone dominance.

    The strongest engines (the ones that survive today seem to be the ones that capitalized on their success elsewhere.

    Yahoo was a wildly popular directory (or central resource for finding interesting sites quickly). Today directories are rarely used by end-users, at least not the way they were back then, most are little more than fodder for link building.

    MSN was a pretty popular community/content portal. They were among the first to really perfect the concepts of communities & online content. Their marketplace presence was heavily subsidized by the inclusion of IE (with MSN.com as a the default homepage) in 99% of PCs sold throughout the 90s. Combined with the ISP war tactics, $300 off a new PC if you sign up for MSN dial-up (this was ‘back in the day’ of course), Microsoft carved out a nice online extension to it’s already dominant operating system brand.

    Then Google come’s along and says people should have to dig down through dozens of levels of directory hierarchy to get to the information they want, and they should have to look through hundreds of listed pages to find the most important/authorative sites… thus ‘search’ as we know it today was born.

    The rest is history… and news.

    I recently took a look back over time to see how search engine homepages have changed over the years. It was interesting that Google today looks virtually unchanged, while the other engines have changed remarkably.

    Here’s some more screen caps of the search engine homepage changes over time.

  2. These are awesome. I remember when the internet first came out the pages took forever to load. My first email account was a Hotmail account.

    Thank you Al Gore for inventing the internet.

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