Looking Back: Google in 1997

    March 30, 2004

In celebration of how Google looks now I’d like to invite you to check out how they looked back in 1997.

Tell us what you think of Google! from 1997.

Raising Google: The Birth of a Search Engine
Raising Google: The Birth of a Search Engine

First of all, notice the Yahoo style exclamation point. In 1997 it was important to exclaim your name since not many people got online and you really needed to shout to get people’s attention. Also, in 1997 it was very exciting just to have a website, especially one as new and squeaky as Google’s was (oops – as Google!’s was).

Look at how proud they were of their 25 MILLION pages, like a young McDonalds before the burger boom. 25 million is about 0.00583403373 percent of the pages they now have just seven years later (yes I figured that with the Google calculator).

Minimal but fun, the Google look itself has remained consistant. While it has certainly grown sleeker in the past 7 years, and grown more links (12 now, 4 links then), the page today actually looks cleaner and simpler.

The most fun though is the old about page. You can smirk at old pictures of the 2 servers that used to run Google – and one drive box they stuck together with Legos. Notice that the Legos are the same colors as the Google logo’s letters.

Don’t miss the papers that reveal the thinking behind the early Google – might be useful for the novice algorithm busters (not that we recommend chasing the algorithm). The crawler FAQ page gave me a better idea than I’ve ever had of how they actually work.

The search function itself doesn’t work, unfortunately, but the site’s worth visiting for the pleasure of nostalgia, especially in light of their new look.

My idea for this article came from a SlashDot post I saw yesterday, that also linked to other Google looks from years gone by. None of the images on pages after 1997 loaded for us.

Special thanks to the Wayback Machine for a fine service.

Garrett French is the editor of iEntry’s eBusiness channel. You can talk to him directly at WebProWorld, the eBusiness Community Forum.