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Friday, October 15, 2010

A Brief History of the Web- Part three...

  I've had Twitter messages and e-mails asking, when's part three of A Brief History of the Web coming?  Well, here it is, folks!  I'm sorry that I was delayed for a couple of days.   Three businesses are interested in me doing web design, and I've already been doing some work for them.  I was in Toronto yesterday to visit a pharmaceutical lab.  And, of course, I've been busy at Blogcritics, too.  I have three articles published there already, with more to come.  Plus, my first review item (I don't know if it's the book, the video game or the DVD) will arrive here today.  Between my nephew's 15th birthday party, and making sure my fiancé and I see The Social Network, I'm going to be swamped this weekend.  Sweetie, I'm leaving the all the cooking to you, this time.  And please don't nag me about doing housework, I'll be working!

  Anyway, here are links to part one and part two, if you have yet to read them:

  So, we're up to 1995.  Microsoft just launched Internet Explorer 1.0, and MSN, their competitor to AOL, which was hot, back then.

  And the very first website to become a big, multi-billion dollar corporation from humble roots, was  Yahoo! was founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in January 1994.

  This is what the Yahoo! homepage looked like back in 1995:

 The two gentlemen were both graduate students at Stanford.  Their website was originally named 'Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web' until they renamed it 'Yahoo!' ('Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle'?) in April, 1994.  It was a great way for early web surfers to find the websites they were looking for, as all listings on Yahoo! were organized into nifty little, hierarchical categories.  Web crawled or spider-bot web search wasn't available on Yahoo! until a few years later.

  As Yahoo! started to earn a lot of money via ad revenue, a lot of staff were hired, and Yahoo! branched out into a lot of different services.  They acquired RocketMail in 1997, and it was rebranded Yahoo! Mail. to Yahoo! Games, eGroups to Yahoo! Groups and GeoCities (more on GeoCities later) were other acquisitions.  In 2000, a stronger Yahoo! made a deal with a then 'little upstart' Google for Google to be Yahoo!'s default search engine.  Until Google and all of Google's services became dominant in the 2000s, Yahoo! was quite the Goliath.

  Lycos was also established in1994.  Here's what used to look like, back in the 'good ol' days':

  It was started as a research project for Michael Lorin Mauldin of Carnegie Mellon University.  (Spotting a trend, here?)  As Lycos grew in the late 1990s, they acquired Gamesville, WhoWhere,,, Tripod and Angelfire.  Tripod and Angelfire were popular competitors to Geocities, which I will get into soon.  

  WebCrawler went live on April 20th, 1994.  It was the first search engine to offer full text search.   It was founded by Brian Pinkerton of the University of Washington.  (I would've named it WebCrawley.)  Here's what their homepage looked like back in 1996:

  Amusingly enough, WebCrawler was bought by AOL in 1995.  They then sold it to a now bankrupt Excite in 1997.  InfoSpace bought WebCrawler in 1991.  WebCrawler is still in operation, too.  See

  Other early search engines include Excite, AltaVista, and HotBot.

  The 'dot com' boom had only just begun!  All the suits wanted in on the gold rush.  And web surfers who weren't techies wanted their own opportunities to publish content online.  

  That's where GeoCities, Angelfire and Tripod came in.  More on that in part four.  I promise that'll be up in the next few days.

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