Feeds

back to article Search engines we have known ... before Google crushed them

Remember when the internet was young, moving your bulky monitor was a two-person job and 1.4MB disks didn't look like a typo? Back then (most) people didn't have to choose which web search engine they were going to use: it came prepared by the operating system maker, such as Microsoft and MSN Search, or the folks you got your …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Anonymous Coward

Re: Ah the good old days gone by...

"Any, er, retreat, on 1Mb disks? (I mean disks, not 180kb floppies! )"

Not sure about the capacity of drums in second/third generation machines. Wonder if a second generation KDF9 fixed disk was more than 1MB capacity? It had a normal set of moving heads - plus a set of fixed heads for "very fast" special data access.

The 1970 System 4 sealed fixed disk was a massive 600MB. It had two stacks of 300MB side by side. The very large head actuators were linked so they moved in opposite directions at the same time to balance the motion forces. The unit weighed 1.5tonnes and had water cooled bearings. In my mind's eye it was about 2+ metres high, 3 metres wide, and 1+metres deep. The platters were at least half a metre in diameter - and a head crash would produce a neat 25mm bright ring against the brown of the oxide. Archiving the data to magnetic tape, with a clever bit of command chaining, took 8 hours.

0
0

Re: Ah the good old days gone by...

"A 2Gb hard disk was awesome."

I remember getting my first 2GB disk and wondering how on earth I was going to fill it. The first quarter got dedicated to a full backup of my laptop and the rest only lasted about 9 months

1
0

Re: Ah the good old days gone by...

"16Mb RAM on your computer was something to be envied.

That was an unimaginable RAM size until when - late 1990s? Chips or SIMMs were reckoned in KB increments.

Got my first 64MB PC in 1997. With 2GB disk, decent monitor, CD drive, audio card, NT4, Office and a DAT drive it came to about £4K.

And it still didn't have a NIC :-)

0
0
Bronze badge
Happy

Re: Ah the good old days gone by...

"Before that disk platters could be lifted out of disk drives."

I remember working on ICL System 25's back around 1992, we had the big portable stack platters you lifted out, 60MB I think they held over 4 platters. When one got corrupt I managed to snag it and it's safely stored up in my loft in my "Historical IT Crap Museum", ha ha!

0
0

mmmmm.....

...Melissa Joan Hart

1
0

Re: mmmmm.....

watching Clarissa explains it all and then doing a search and waiting for the pictures to load........

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: mmmmm.....

Robb celebs was a search engne of a sort. Ahh...those halcyon innocent days..sigh..

0
0
Bronze badge
Unhappy

next google

I guess the barrier to entry for any new search engine is colossal these days. The internet is so huge, you'd need several data centres to hold the indexes before you even serve a single request.

Not something some guys in a garage could possibly create now.

0
0
Devil

Re: next google

You create something cool in your garage and hope a billion dollar company sails past and picks you out of the icy cold waters.

1
0

This post has been deleted by a moderator

WK

Re: So much for Bing

DuckDuckGo gets most of their results from Bing, though. And it gets its revenue from Bing Ads. And its anti-Google marketing campaign is identical to Microsoft's anti-Google marketing campaign.

If FUD hasn't helped Bing grow, I'm not certain it will work for MS funded DDG.

DDG have made it into some browser search boxes, which may help them. The highest profile example is the one in Linux Mint. Ironically, this means that a Linux distro is not only being funded (albeit indirectly) by anti-Linux Microsoft, but it's also helping to increase Bing market share at the expense of Google, the company that finally brought Linux to the mainstream.

We live in strange times.

3
0

Re: So much for Bing

Bing was fine until SEO idiots noticed it. Now not that different from google with less results.

As usual Microsoft also insists not to ship anything to Android, ignoring largest mobile third party browser (opera) etc.

1
0
Bronze badge
Meh

Re: So much for Bing

I'm sorry, but I've tried DDG off and on occasionally, but I'm just not seeing the greatness.

There's no simple, easy way to sort by date/relevance, search on an exact phrase, nor any way to search within a domain -- which brings us to its obscure advanced search syntax. It's almost like a throwback to those old-time search engines, where you had to learn some weird-assed search language to get any usable precise results.

Google may be evil as hell, but at least they don't need an entire help page devoted to advance search syntax for users who need to narrow down their criteria.

0
0

Re: So much for Bing

I use it for maps quite often as it has an Ordnance Survey overlay so you can not only see footpaths but also work out which route a road actually takes in the country rather which is impossible on country roads on Google.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: So much for Bing

I use it for maps quite often as it has an Ordnance Survey overlay so you can not only see footpaths but also work out which route a road actually takes in the country rather which is impossible on country roads on Google.

I've not used maps on Bing -- hell, I hardly touch it at all -- but you've got a point, there. Google's maps are really slick, but they seem to overemphasize driving and shopping.

1
0
Thumb Up

alltheweb.com

Was my fave back in the day. It was a nice, clean website.

1
0

Re: alltheweb.com

It was owned by fast.no ,a Norwegian company and was eventually ended up in Yahoo's hands to be wasted.

0
0
Happy

I remember overhearing a couple of people talking one day, arguing over what search engine to use. It boiled down to using Lycos if you were searching for something on the internet and you used Ask Jeeves if you wanted to know the answer to a question.

Simpler times.

0
0
Coat

Webferret

Always had a liking for the ferret after the gophor died.

Mine has a ferret in the pockets...

0
0

uk.altavista.com/web/adv

uk.altavista.com/web/adv until it went all Yahoo!

Then WiseNut which was pretty good.

Sigh.

0
0

I remember

when our vicar typed hotbod instead of hotbot. Ooopsie.

He *said* it was by mistake...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: I remember

hotboy was the usual embarrassing typo.

0
0
DJV
Thumb Up

Feck!

Well, at least Doogle is still around!

www.doogle.org

0
0

Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Blip

Bleeeeeee BleeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeZZNNGGNNPP

That was my USR Sportster connecting anyway. Always made an odd ZZNNGGNN noise at the end and I always wanted to know why! :D Other modems didn't. I liked to believe it was the extra few K I seemed to be able to get over others in Quake2.

This article reminded me of a few I had completely forgotten, so cheers for that.

If only AltaVista had known how things could turn out.

0
0
Bronze badge
Unhappy

Older memories...

...memorably played on TV by Stephen Fry

For some of us the memory goes back to Dennis Price.

1
0

Excite eXtreme

I seem to recall a rather pointless prettification of Excite where the text front end was replaced by some kind of 3d-ish rotating in-browser animation which ran like utter crap on every PC I ever tried it on.

Also, I remember when Infoseek didn't have that slick 'i in a circle' logo and favoured an earwax yellow approach

0
0

Re: Excite eXtreme

Ironically, www.excite.com just supplied me this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw9x5us4ZM4

Needless to say, it never ran like that in real life and it was a UI disaster with the same potential as Metro (or whatever) except that Excite had the sense not to inflict it on everyone

0
0

I've always gone for shorter URLs

I've always typed everything into the address bar, so opt towards yahoo simply because it is one character less than google. When I discovered that Ask Jeeves could be accessed via aj, I've always used that. I wonder how many keystrokes I've saved over the years?

0
0
Silver badge
Devil

Astalavista

Was what I mostly used back then. Is it still around? (Obviously blocked at work)

1
0

Re: Astalavista

Yep I used that at college.......................like everything else, its not as good now

0
0
Bronze badge
FAIL

Quality of results

Been through them all. And used Google for most of the time since it appeared. Because, even being the world's biggest ad agency it still produced results that weren't all trying to sell me stuff that was peripherally connected to a single key word in what I wanted.

Ask Jeeves did that even when I did want to buy stuff. A search along the lines of, maybe, "Where can I get cheap laces for my Timberlands" would find a trillion sites trying to sell cheap ( i.e. nasty/ fake ) Timberlands or even random unbranded boots but none of them would sell the bloomin' laces.

0
0

No Ink Tummy?

Inktomi results (or part of) seemed to be incorporated into many of the search engines of the time, not least HotBot.

I do seem to remember a fleeting moment in time when SEO was a noble art before it became infested with marketroid scum.

1
0
Bronze badge
Coffee/keyboard

Re: No Ink Tummy?

I do seem to remember a fleeting moment in time when SEO was a noble art before it became infested with marketroid scum.

Wow, no shit. Exactly which alternative universe was this in?

1
1

Re: No Ink Tummy?

The one where I didn't realise I was turning into a marketroid scum... In my alternate universe 'marcomms' <spit> came under the remit of Technical Communications so it didn't feel so dirty, especially as we were all engineers first and foremost not fluffy bunny... marketroid scum. Quite amused by the fact that the seo/sem/neu meeja company that took over our old offices likes to promote how many of its' employees have a mathematical or science background, as if that gives their activity any more credence.

0
0

I remember lycos because of the media player associated with it - there were some interesting plugins; the visualisation down the rabbit hole being my favourite.

Also, I still type babelfish.altavista.com and get redirected to yahoo's translator because I never saw another memorable translator URL

0
0

AT Strings

As we reminiscing the modem days, dont forget flashing up USR modems to unlock their full potential (thanks USR) or screwing about with AT strings to get a bit better through put on what ever bbs.

Ahhh the hours spent in the draw creating some ansi animation that lasted for a full 5 seconds lolz.

Oh and dont forget ICE Z Modem Protocol, (wooot, two way chat and a download on the go).

And being envious of the guys with multi node ring downs and hoping your mum wouldn't cut you of by picking up the phone.

Ahhh wipes tear from the eye, those were the days.

1
0

Re: AT Strings

They've never gone away mate! I was using them just the other month to get those Huawei 3G Dongles going on various android devices... Blast from the Past.

Used to get on the "information superhighway" via a local bbs who had something silly like 10 Line Ring Down, It was a Text Only affair at 28.8, Actually nothing much changes because I was using Lynx on the RaspPi just yesterday and 3UK data connectivity feels like dialup sometimes. :)

0
0

I used to use Lycos on Windows98.

Im only 29 but typing that made me feel reeeeealy old :/

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: I used to use Lycos on Windows98.

God, I'm sorry. I hope you used something other than IE as your browser at least.

I at least had the good sense to use Windows 2000, I'm not much older than you either. But anyway I was also a Lycos user and it feels like it was an eternity ago. But hell, there are probably people still trying to find me based on my old Lycos email address.

And wasn't Snap something that NBC wound up with until they discontinued the name? I seem to recall a commercial they did at Hoover Dam talking about how powerful their search engine was in about 1997 or so.

0
1
Facepalm

But what about the analogue search engine - Internet Yellow Pages?

Yes, I admit I actually bought this sometime in the early/mid nineties. Back when Powell's operated the Technical Book Store. You want to look something up on the internet? Here, look in this BOOK... :)

Here's a later edition from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Riders-Official-World-Yellow-Pages/dp/1562056220/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355848904&sr=1-1&keywords=1562056220

2
0

Ah! Altavista

To this day, whenever I need a translation, I always type in "babelfish.altavista.com" in my browser's address bar.

Ah! Those were the days.

2
0

I remember Altavista was my primary source of 10 second Jenna Jameson clips as a youth.

Those were they days *sniffle*

1
0
Black Helicopters

Lycos!

First time I came across Lycos was when they were just a basement poster session at the 3rd International WWW Convention at Darmstadt, in 1995! Seems a shame that (almost) everyone seems to have forgotten them now.

Title of one paper from that convention: "Chapter 6, In which Pooh proposes improvements to Web authoring tools, having seen said tools for the Unix platform."

[Black helicopter, just 'cos it looks like a splatted spider.]

1
0
Anonymous Coward

How about Google?

Before it too was taken over by the suits.

0
1
Unhappy

I miss the random link

AltaVista, I believe it was, used to have a feature where you could request a random link in one of 9 categories that included "Science", "Games", and "Elvis Sightings". I found some fascinating stuff that way...

0
0
Happy

Ah, Infoseek

Infoseek has a special place in my heart for being the first search engine ever to refer someone to one of my Web pages.

1
0

AltaVista Desktop search

I'm fairly sure they were the first to deliver a desktop search that was usable too. I relied on it for years, till it sank with the rest of its efforts.

Yahoo had it's moment of glory too. You could probably argue, well maybe, that it was ahead of its time with its API's. Shame it forgot about sharing it's innovations, like Amazon do nowadays, it could have been ahead of the pack.

0
0
Bronze badge
Pint

Re: AltaVista Desktop search

They also had OK VPN tunnel software as well IIRC

0
0
h3
Bronze badge

Google did do it properly. But more and more recently it is regressing. (Starting to do the irritating things that were the main reason that it was good.)

The god awful black bar / making it lots of effort to change search parameters (Combared to when they were by the side) / automatically signing you up to youtube (And associated spam message) if you accidentally click on a link when you are logged in.

(Bing doesn't yet seem to actively trick you into doing anything. (Unlike Facebook (the worst) and now Google.)

1
1
Bronze badge

(Are you (writing) in some (LISP-influenced (dialect)) of English?)

3
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.