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The Meta-search - 1995
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Why search with one search engine when you can search with them all – or at least several? That was the question tackled by a number of researchers following a PC Computing magazine challenge which reviewed search engines and found out that different search engines produced different results because of the different algorithms on which each was based.

Daniel Dreilinger at Colorado State University provided his answer with SearchSavvy which let users search up to 20 different search engines at one and a number of directories, such as Four-11 (e-mail address) directories, FTPSearch95 for Internet files and DejaNews, a web-based database of UseNet newsgroup postings. SearchSavvy was restricted to simple searches and while fast, was not overly reliable.

About the same time Dreilinger’s SearchSavvy appeared, University of Washington student Eric Selberg and his advisor Oren Etzioni revealed Selberg’s master’s degree project called MetaCrawler.

MetaCrawler improved on SearchSavvy’s accuracy with the addition of its own search syntax and behind the scenes, matching its syntax to that of the search engines it was probing. MetaCrawler searched through six search engines, yet while providing better results, still could not match those achieved by searching each engine individually.

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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