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Veronica, the grandmother of search engines - 1993
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FTP enabled Internet users to locate and access files or more correctly, folders of information located on FTP servers. Another protocol called Gopher existed to handle plain-text documents and these were stored on so-called Gopher servers. Gopher was created in 1991 by Mark McCahill and his team at the University of Minnesota and was named after the university mascot, the Golden Gopher.

The popularity of Emtage’s Archie had grown considerably by 1993, prompting Fred Barrie and Steven Foster at the University of Nevada System Computing Services Group to develop Veronica to search for Gopher files. The group dubbed Veronica - Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Netwide Index to Computerized Archives – as “the grandmother of all search engines.”

At its peak usage, Veronica searched through a database of over 5,500 Gopher servers and over 10 million Gopher “items” or documents whose titles contain your keyword. Veronica would then set up a temporary Gopher server containing the matches which you could browse. Veronica was much overloaded, often gave error messages for a keyword search then provided results for the same keyword search on a second or third try.

Here is a growing archive of the search engine history:

  • 2003 – Microsoft redux
  • 2001 – Goodbye GoTo, hello Overture
  • 2000 – Some Web expertise
  • 1999 – A winning search concept
  • 1999 – Now that’s fast!
  • 1998 – Its a hit! DirectHit
  • 1998 – And in the other corner... MSN
  • 1998 – And in this corner… Google
  • 1998 – The Open (source) Directory Project
  • 1997 – Ask Jeeves, the butler did it
  • 1997 – GoTo, What do I bid?
  • 1996 – LookSmart – the Australian connection
  • 1996 – HotBot, one hot bot!
  • 1995/96 – The Northern Light
  • 1995 – AltaVista
  • 1995 – The Meta-search
  • 1994-95 – InfoSeek
  • 1994 – Lycos
  • 1994 – The WebCrawler
  • 1994 – Yahoo!
  • 1994 – A Galaxy of web pages
  • 1993 – The birth of Excite
  • 1993 - The Web’s oldest existing search engine
  • 1993 – The first web robot
  • 1993 - Archie’s pal, Jughead
  • 1993 - Veronica, the grandmother of search engines
  • 1989 - Archie, the grandfather of all search engines

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