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The WebCrawler - 1994
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By 1994 the Internet was the primary source of discussion at most computer science programs. Things were no different at the University of Washington where student Brian Pinkerton developed a small single-user application to find information on the Web. At the encouragement of fellow students, Pinkerton built a web interface to his WebCrawler program, which was released on April 20, 1994, with a database containing documents from over 6,000 web servers.

The WebCrawler was unique in that it was the first web robot to capable of indexing every word on a web page, while other bots were storing a URL, a title and at most 100 words. In a few short months, the WebCrawler was averaging 15,000 hits a day. Demand eventually crashed the University of Washington’s network. America Online (AOL) eventually bought WebCrawler and ran it on its system. Excite bought WebCrawler in 1997.


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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