Timeline of Search Engine History

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Loren Baker
Loren Baker SEJ STAFF
Timeline of Search Engine History

Search engines have changed the way we find information, conduct research, shop for products and presents, entertain ourselves and connect with others. Behind almost every online destination, social network, cell phone and online newspaper is a search engine. Search engines have become the connecting force and directional guide to everyday life.

This year, we’ve witnessed the consolidation of search, with the blockbuster Microsoft Yahoo partnership, the launch of Microsoft and Google becoming more and more dominant and diversified. But how did this all start?

Remember when Google powered Yahoo? Remember when Google was Backrub?

We’ve put together a timeline of the history of search engines to understand the roots of this technology which has become such an important part of our world.

Click Above to Expand the Search Engine History Timeline in your Browser Window

Notable Search Engine Milestones :

1994 : Yahoo! created by Stanford University students Jerry Wang and David Filo in a campus trailer. Yahoo was originally an Internet bookmark list and directory of interesting sites.

1996 : Sergey Brin and Larry Page, two Stanford University students test Backrub, a new search engine which ranks sites based on inbound link relevancy and popularity. Backrub would ultimately become Google.

1998 : launches with Sponsored Links and paid search. Advertisers bid on to rank above organic search results which were powered by Inktomi. is ultimately acquired by Yahoo.

2000 : Yahoo partners with Google and lets Google power their organic results instead of Inktomi. Beforehand Google was a little known search engine. The end result, Yahoo introduces their largest competitor to the world and Google becomes a household name.

2003 : Google launches AdSense after acquiring AdSense serves contextually targeted Google AdWords ads on publisher sites. The mix of AdSense and leads to a surge in monetized simple Internet publishing and a blogging revolution.

2006 : Google acquires user generated video sharing network YouTube which ultimately becomes the 2nd most used search property in the world. Google is still working on properly monetizing YouTube.

2009 : In an attempt to challenge Google’s 70% grip of the search market, Yahoo and Microsoft join forces to partner on a 10 year search deal. And the future is now.

Loren Baker

Loren Baker

Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing ... [Read full bio]