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Lycos - 1994
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1994 was clearly a blockbuster year in the history of the search engine and the theme of the spider and the Web couldn’t be any clearer with the birth of Lycos at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University in July 1994.

Dr. Michael Mauldin, at CMU’s Center for Machine Translation, developed Lycos, named for the wolf spider Lycosidae lycosa around the core of another program called LongLegs written by John Leavitt. Mauldin wrote the Pursuit retrieval engine which was designed to retrieve and process text from very large databases.

When Lycos went public with a catalogue of 54,000 documents on the Web, it added yet more value to web searching – a ranking of relevance, prefix matching and word proximity bonuses. In other words, users were now able to determine the accuracy of their search efforts to home in on the desired information. By August 1994 the Lycos catalogue had reached 394,000 documents; by January 1995 1.5 million documents, and by November 1996, more than 60 million documents – more than any other search engine.


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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