Home / Industry / Media /  A brief history of search engines

Ever since the world wide web became the engine of our lives, search has been the holy grail for developers and companies. Beginning with Archie in 1990, considered the first search engine, moving on to Excite and Lycos and Infoseek, by the mid 90s there was a veritable flood of search engines, particularly after Google showed how it should be done in 1996. The complexity of the algorithms was now matched only by the voracious appetite of searchers as the number of pages to be indexed ran into billions. Invariably, a lot of them positioned themselves as specialized engines—for kids or jobs or tech or entertainment. Then came the deep web search engines like which indexed obscure and often not-easy to find content.

Post-Google, there were the much touted “google killers" including Cuil (pronounced Cool ) and Dogpile. While the former is no more, the latter is now just a Google clone. Unbelievably, there have also been those that have tried to go the human-powered search way! With a million plus spam pages being generated every day besides the billions of legitimate ones, you would imagine most humans would be daunted.

As the original super spider, AltaVista, shuts down, here’s a brief history of some of the better known search engines through the years:

1990: Archie—the very first search engine

1991: Veronica and Jughead

1992: Vlib

1993: Excite and World wide web wanderer

1994: AltaVista, Galaxy, Yahoosearch, Infoseek, Webcrawler, Lycos

1995: Looksmart

1996: Google, HotBot, Inktomi


1998: MSN; dmoz

1999: Alltheweb

2005: Snap

2006: Microsoft Livesearch

2008: Cuil

2009: Microsoft Bing


Catch all the Industry News, Banking News and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
More Less
Subscribe to Mint Newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Recommended For You

Edit Profile
Get alerts on WhatsApp
Set Preferences My ReadsWatchlistFeedbackRedeem a Gift CardLogout