Prior to the mid-late 1990s, if you needed to research a topic, you likely went to your local or school library. Here you would thumb through the card catalog to find books on your given topic, look through an encyclopedia, or even find a magazine that covered what you were researching.
If you wanted to order something from a company or had a question, you called them directly or sent in an order form via the postal service. If you needed recommendations for a plumber or a doctor, you asked friends or simply looked in the Yellow Pages.
However, starting around 1996, this all changed. Suddenly, we had 24/7 access to search engines that would help us find what we needed quickly. According to Andrei Broder, author of “A Taxonomy of a Web Search,” most searches performed with a search engine can be categorized as one of the following:
Google Begins Building an Empire
In 1996, Backrub, the company that would later become Google, was built and tested by two Stanford University students. It ranked sites according to their popularity and inbound link relevancy. In 1997, Google.com became a registered domain name.
In the year 2000, Yahoo agreed to allow Google to power their organic search results instead of Inktomi. This partnership meant that every Yahoo search had “Powered by Google” on it. Yahoo paved the way for Google to become a household name.
Google was innovative in their ranked site listings as it used both on- and off-page factors. Their formula meant that if you were being talked about, you were important. Google has changed their formulas and algorithms multiple times since its inception.
Bing Competes with Google
Microsoft Live Search became known as Bing in 2009. At this point, Google had 70 percent of the internet search market in the United States. Although their partnership would be reconfigured five years later, Yahoo and Microsoft teamed up to make a deal on their search engines. Bing then became the second largest search engine in use, however, it still could not keep up with Google on both national and global scales.
In 2013, in response to more mobile users, Google made one of its biggest updates since 2001. Known as Hummingbird, this update provided faster results that were more relevant, which was geared especially for mobile users. Did you know that this put Google ahead of the game? In 2015, mobile search engine users surpassed desktop users.
Search engines direct our everyday lives and connect us in ways that had never been done before. The number of daily searches on Google alone has reached 3.5 billion. This means Google responds to 1.2 trillion searches each year across the globe. In 2017, over 46 percent of the world’s population had accessed the internet and used a search engine. It is projected that this figure will grow to nearly 54 percent by the year 2021.