- The Original Meta Search Engine
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The History of the Search Engine - Search Engine Timeline

A web search engine searches the web for text using particular keywords and then returns a list of websites or text pages where the keywords were found. Most modern search engines work by sending out a spider to gather as many web pages as possible and then an indexer reads these pages and returns significant results to the searcher.

How did the modern search engine come about? When did it all begin? Has Google always been the biggest and best?

Follow the search engine timeline to find out.


Alan Emtage created the very first search engine, Archie, in 1990, which was shortened from "archives". Archie was able to retrieve file names by matching a user query.


Mark McCahill developed the Veronica and Jughead search engine programs which were used to search files sent via Gopher. The Veronica search program worked by providing a keyword search in plain text files and the Jughead search program was a tool for obtaining menu information from specific Gopher servers.

June 1993

The World Wide Web Wanderer, which is often referred to as the world's first web robot, was developed by Mathew Gray.

November 1993

Martijn Koster developed the first Web search engine, ALIWEB in November 1993.

December 1993

The World Wide Web Worm, the RBSE spider and Jumpstation had surfaced. These were all bot fed search engines.


Webcrawler, Infoseek, Yahoo! and Lycos were launched in 1994. Webcrawler used a full text crawler based tool which became the standard method for search engines. Excite was also launched in 1994 and aimed to make searching more efficient by using statistical analysis of word relationships. One of the most popular search engines launched in 1994 was Yahoo! which also allowed people to browse its directory.


AltaVista was launched in December 1995 and was the first web search engine to allow natural language queries.


Hotbot was launched in 1196 by The Inkotomi Corporation.


Ask Jeeves, now known as, was a natural language search engine launched in April, 1997.


Netscape struck a deal with Excite, Lycos, Magellan and Yahoo! to use each of these major search engines in rotation.


Sergey Brin and Larry Page developed Google Search in 1997 which rose to prominence in the year 2000.


The Open Directory Project DMOZ was created in 1998 and is almost entirely ran by volunteer editors.


MSN Search was launched in 1998 using blended results from Inktomi, AltaVista and Looksmart.


AllTheWeb was launched in 1999 as a search technology platform.


The Snap search engine was launched in October 2005 by Bill Gross, owner of Overture.


Miscrosoft launched its Live Search Product.


Cuil was launched in 2008, Cuil was developed and managed by former Google staff.


Bing was launched in June 2009.


Google has the largest share in the search engine market in the US, followed by Yahoo!, Microsoft and AOL.

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