Google Blogoscoped


The Web in 1994 (Video)  (View post)

Arthur [PersonRank 0]

Thursday, July 12, 2007
15 years ago9,972 views

I used Lycos, but that as in 97 or 98, when I was 11-12 years old and discovered the internet....oo I remember my first web page, hosted on angelfire, all about dragon ball z and sonic the hedgehog :p

I remember spending hours, late into the night, uploading GIF's to my site on the 56kbps modem – man, those were the days!

Bah, now I've 'upgraded' to simplicity – :)

Great video and post, thanks for giving me nostalgia!

Martin Porcheron [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

"attactive ... and for free"
Compared to today's websites it wasn't. And added to that, a lot of websites aren't free.

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

My first taste of the internet came in '96 and my first dial-up account was through a company called Sprynet. I remember setting up my first webpage on Geocities and thinking how cool it was to have an animated gif on my page.

My first video game experience online was Warcraft 2.

Keith Tyler [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

At first, you "searched" the web via links from other sites. There were few enough places on the web that you could find things via links from other people's sites.

The best way to actually *search* for information in 1994-5 was still via Veronica in Gopher, now long forgotten. I recall doing J-school papers based on Veronica search results.

Then Yahoo came, hosted on a couple Stanford dorm machines, which you could only get to by

Then there was Lycos, which was THE search engine (versus Yahoo's directory). After a while AltaVista took the search crown. Eventually it fell to Google around 2000.

Jorg [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

wow, veronica brings back memories...
Most of the time I used sort of start pages with loads of collections of links. So crazy if you think back of it.

TK42ONE [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

I remember the dial up kermit connection in college (circa mid 90s). Those of us lucky enough to have computers often used a yellow book of web pages. Yes, just like phone books today, it was a book you could buy that listed all the web pages. Well, most of them at least. These were the days when you could play online games, but only versus one other person because your computer called theirs. And porn was literally in two colors.

And now I feel old.

txensen [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

My first website went up in December 1994.

How did you find stuff? You didn't. (There was Lycos, but it didn't really work.) You just bumped into things at random.

Travis Harris [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Alright.. it is a bit embarrassing, but I was an AOL kiddie then... before then I was a prodigy guy... How did I find stuff? you more had to browse and search for yourself. There were a bagazillion chat rooms with designated topics that were well indexed, and you could ask people there what the best sites were. There were tons and tons of link sites on whatever you were looking for... I even remember the day when you had to pay to access some link sites... lol, and now they are just the spam of the internet!

Ashleigh Tasker [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

?HeyTravis do you live in Edmonton

Rich Hall [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Infoseek. At the time it had the most power search engine and logic and was "the" search tool for science and academics. I was turned on to it by a reference librarian at the biotech company I worked for. It took me a long time to convert to Google, because I always felt "how do you find what's useful in all this junk?!" Where Infoseek would return 100 very relevant hits, Google would return 30,000 but spanning the range from relevant to not even close. Of course there are times when being able to find "everything" is the way to go. And no doubt Google has gotten much better about relevance.

There is still one Infoseek feature I miss. There use to be a way proximity search that would help you find words near each other, such as in the same paragraph. That was a very handy way to search scientific and patent literature.

Now, I would be nearly helpless without Google. I work in IT and am sometimes teased that I can solve any technical problem by googling and adapting what I find to the problem at hand.

Mason Kramer [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Hopping from link to link, word of mouth, Page Of The Day pages...

Walter Underwood [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

It wasn't that hard to find things because there wasn't any web spam in 1994. There weren't even any ads on web pages.

Pretty soon, we had AltaVista.

Then I went to work at Infoseek and learned that I didn't have to go through thirty pages of AltaVista results, since Infoseek had the right stuff on the first page or two.

Josh Miller [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

I always preferred Metacrawler myself.

Gaman [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

Anybody used Northern Light?

Eric Cranston [PersonRank 3]

15 years ago #

The scary thing is a number of those web pages look better then ones I've seen today. Or everyone I've seen on MySpace.

I think I came to the web in like 1999 using Yahoo for search. And then migrated to Google with the rest of the world in 2000 or so.

benmarvin [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Altavista. Man, rember that baby? When you could actually find links that weren't ads, blogs, or news articles... Don't get me wrong, I'm a Googlewhore to the end, but I miss the days of Lynx and bbs's.

Jake [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

I seem to recall back in 1993 or 4 (when was the first Mosaic release?) that the NCSA had a What's New page that listed new web sites--you had to mail yours in to get it posted. But basically if you went to that every day and read the handful of links, you'd have it covered.

Rob [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

I was in college and I surfed quite a bit. I used Lycos, the most popular search engine at that time that was bookmarked on pretty much all the school computers. When I think about it, I frankly don't think things have advanced nearly as much as people think in those 13 years. Sure, a lot of people have learned to use the internet and there's a lot of content and it looks better but back then most of the content was really good now most is crap. And the technology isn't much different. I also found a lot of sites by direct navigation. I can tell you was alive and well and free. And of course usenet was by far the #1 place for porn – and all of it free.

bwaje [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

At that time, 1996 I think, HotBot was the best search engine, because it covered about 20% of web pages!

Chris [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

I used Infoseek as the primary search engine back in the day, it had a feature that I still miss today (and I'm sure google will be able to do it but I'm unaware how)

Infoseek used to allow a search, and then allow subsequent searches within the results. That was great for narrowing down relevance as it allowed a broad first search and then detailed secondary searches. Helped narrow down the results a lot, (the only slight problem was when you weren't aware of what you were looking for)

*wipes nostalgic tear from his eye*

OlPeculier [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Yahoo when it had a grey background

Or even Lynx.

Hotmail before M$ got their hands on it

Or even modems, nowadays

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Chris wrote:
> Infoseek used to allow a search, and then allow subsequent searches
> within the results. That was great ...

You mean like this?

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

I got connected in 1993, but it wasn't until 1994 that I discovered the web. I had two browsers – Mosaic and Cello. Here's a Mosaic screenshot

I like that screenshot because it doesn't just show the browser, it shows typical web page layout from 1994. All we had to play with was headings, bold and italic, lists, images, and the horizontal rule, which was often used like an "end of page" marker.

Like Jake, I used to visit NCSA's "New sites" page. By 1995, when that list had become too big, I visited "Cool Site of the Day". But most websites were spread virally – links posted in email messages and Usenet newsgroups.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Keith wrote:
> The best way to actually *search* for information in 1994-5
> was still via Veronica in Gopher, now long forgotten.

Gopher was a distributed set of heirarchical menus (released in 1991), and Veronica was a search engine for it (released in 1992). They're certainly not forgotten though.

If you want a nostalgic visit to the spam-free backroads of the internet, the gopher protocol is supported by Firefox. Point your browser here for a node that indexes gopher servers established after 1999 (not all of which are still running):

You can also still use the Veronica search engine. Using Firefox, visit this URL
then click on "Search Veronica-2" and enter a search term such as
family photos

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

I think I first "used" the web in 1995/96. When I say "used" I mean that in the loosest possible sense, as we borrowed my mate's dad's PC on a dial up connection. He gave us 30 minutes of Internet time and we didn't find anything at all within that time limit, apart from what I think was the AOL home page.

I properly started using the web in 1997 when I came to university. AltaVista was my search engine of choice and Netscape 3 was my default browser. Here are a few of the early websites I worked on:

December 1997:

Note the three versions:

   * Text-only version for users with a non-graphical browser.

   * Non-frames version for users not using Netscape 3.0 or above.

   * Frames version for users using Netscape 3.0 or above.

April 1998 – May 1998:

More to laugh at here:

Chris [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Roger Browne, you just made my Christmas card list. I love you like my own offspring.


Luca [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

wow this remember me the "" times...*/

stefan2904 [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #


Andy Couch [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

Back in 1994, I used Web Crawler (this was before AOL bought them). I'm surprised no one mentioned them.

And I also remember when it was easy to check out the new sites added to Yahoo! (then a Standford student project) on a daily basis. This was also when Yahoo! was a manually managed directory of pretty much every single website and not a search engine.

J. McNair [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

I remember when there was a Digital Equipment Corporation, then it was Compaq and now it's just HP. When I was very young my mom would let me play simple games on the VAX terminal in her office when she brought me in with her. Umn...back on topic

Let's BBS'es on my Tandy Color Computer 3 count? Then I would use Prodigy at the library. I remember being SO jealous of the AOL kids with their pretty, friendly interfaces and VGA graphics. Later, my state allowed free dialup access (at 14.4kbps) – but you had to use the Lynx browser over a terminal shell. Then I kind of ignored it for a while until we got a bettercomputer. Fast forward to the mid to late 90's and User Generated Content 1.0: Hotmail, Geocities, Livejournal, deviantArt and Altavista to Search them All. Unless you were scholarly, then Infoseek.

Ah, the old days of almost no spam, the <blink> tag, the browser wars, when 5 MB of email storage was enough and you had to pay for POP access, and Amazon was destined to fail "any day now".

heh. Funnily enough, everything that video's narrator said is still how you would accurately describe the web today.

Elliotte [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

SavvySearch. Definitely SavvySearch, circa 1995-1997. It was a metasearch engine that aggregated from Infoseek, AltaVista, Lycos, etc. And it was better than any of them, individually, and just as good as, if not better, than Google, when Google was at its height.

Davin Peterson [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

I remember in 1995-1996, when I was a senior in high school, Windows '95 had just came out and so did Netscape Navigator 3.0. We used Netscape to search the internet. Back then I created my first webpage.

Nuno Souto [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Gopher – Veronica – and shortly after yahoo, dejanews and a few others. And a lot of Compuserve as well, it was very much relevant back then. As for it being slow, dunno: I had a blazing fast 32Kbaud modem then! :-)

Jack Greenwood [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Oh, come on you all, I was surfing CompuServe in 1983 for 300bps access @ $6.25/hr (who would pay 1982 $14.50 for blazing fast 1200baud access?). 1982 $6.25 is $13.35 in 2006 dollars. PER HOUR. And it was all lovely text and menus. There was IM/Chat (called "CB" channels), there were "forums" and there were DOWNLOADS! There was shopping! There was SEX! And the beauty of it was you could keep up with the text as it scrolled across your screen! Ahhh... 300 baud! I sometimes think there was more substance then than now. No way! PORN at 100Mbps is way worth it!



anon123 [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

I was there around 1994/95, doing FTP by mail first, then web by mail, then full Internet connectivity and Mosaic (the luxury!). I had the "The Whole Internet" book. I searched through Archie first (by mail), then through Yahoo. (via web). I remember downloading the Doom demo by email at work and copying it to 3 diskettes.

I was a Unix head back then (still am) and Mosaic on X Windows was a HUGE paradigm shift. I wanted so bad to be part of the whole Internet thing...

Mrrix32 [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

err since when did YouTube Videos embed themselves on the page?

When we first got the Internet (1997?) I wasn't allowed on the Web it was only for email as we where on an expensive pay-as-you-go dial up, when I finaly got on the web Google had it's current logo (and was my dad's Homepage)

And why do we say www. when world wide web is 6 less syllables?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

> err since when did YouTube Videos embed
> themselves on the page?

Since about 24 hours :)
Hope you like it.

deborah [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

In '94, it was Web Crawler, which was really pretty good until AltaVista, InfoSeek, and Northern Light (I loved the latter). Yahoo was just a human maintained categorized list that wasn't incredibly handy compared to a search engine. As others mentioned here, there were also the Internet yellow pages (a physical book) and, like today, simply clicking on links. While I don't miss the pre-tables grey backgrounds, 14.4 modems (as well as the pre-WWW days of Prodigy, CompuServ, pre-Internet AOL, acoustic coupler modems, and booting from 5.25" floppies), I do miss DEC, InfoSeek, and Bianca's Smut Shack... you've brought a tear to my eye.

Arvid Bux [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Raises his hand...I used Ilseor Altavista to find stuff....the good old days with my homepage at Geocities :)

matt [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

ah, the good ol' days.. .archie, gopher, ftp, telnet, muds, uunet.. then came mosaic and <blink></blink>.

hand proudly raised :)


A.B.Leal [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

In since 1985 – back when ftp'ing the latest Emacs from to was best done on a Sunday morning. But Usenet was fun – from to comp.sources, not forgetting rec.sf-lovers. And Usenet conversation was also a good source of pointers to ftp sites, and later, http pages.

Ah – finding stuff: the first HTTP years, stuff found you – hrmm, well, not quite. But the village was smaller, and a few link clicks would carry you across known space. Then, of course, came Altavista, and other search engines (what was the fast one in .no?) with the now quaint boolean query forms: word AND word OR word NOT word ...

Oh, you had a video there ? Sorry, my primary browser runs with no Flash, no Java, no Javascript (and, at work, optional image loading). Saves a ton of hassle, and works on most sites worth looking at ...

Anon [PersonRank 7]

15 years ago #

My school library got an internet connection early 1995. I remember spending a lot of time there.

When I wanted to find new stuff typed in and browsed the directory. I think the first search engine I used was Altavista or Hotbot.

Cool fact: Playboy and Penthouse existed back then, and had a lot of free content. I remember printing out an article about Bill Gates, and I probably looked at a few pictures too ;-)

[Anonymous] [PersonRank 4]

15 years ago #


But it was not a very useful search engine – it was a directory, and a pretty good one.

I searched mostly for music, so i would scroll through Music / Artists / Artists by alphabet.

There was also some Yahoo-related thing called "unfURLed" (what a wonderful pun). It was also a directory of bands, but with snazzier graphics.

For search i used HotBot and AltaVista, but they were not half as good as Google even at its earliest days.

c0t0s0d0 [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

exactly! google wasn't around... and things still worked... today, google is around, and things work... tomorrow google won't be around again and things will still work.... i like google, but please, lets get over the "google is the internet" [arrogant] type of implication... particularly in terms of search... google is not a verb, its a corporate name... and its "just another big american corporate" ... perhaps run by slightly more moral and innovative people... but lets not pretend its some type of saviour!!!

btw, there was plenty back in the early 90's... we had for searching ... and plenty of other stuff... and it worked great...

D Davidson [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Back in 92-93 (?) there was a short summary page that was *very* popular. Had a recap of links, stuff on gopher/telnet, etc. Checked for updates via finger. But I can't remember the name.

Forum home


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!