Google reopens 2001 search index

SAN FRANCISCO - Google has relaunched its 2001 search index to provide a light-hearted look at the growth of web use over the past seven years.

To mark its 10th birthday, Google has made available its oldest readily accessible search index for one month only, which users can browse the comparatively tiny search engine, including links to websites as they appeared in 2001.

A statement on the Google site said: "The world wide web and the world have both changed a lot since 2001. Searching Google's 2001 index illustrates both points in what we think is a pretty entertaining way.

"If you searched on 'Michael Phelps' in 2001 for instance, you were probably looking for the scientist, not the swimmer. 'Ipod' didn't refer to a music player, and 'YouTube' didn't refer to much of anything."

According to web experience consultant Webcredible, the index alsos provide a point of measure for the evolution of online marketing. The difference in the number of results thrown up when searching on the terms "search", "engine" and "optimisation" results between the 2001 version and the current Google is notable, growing from 12,300 in 2001 to 77.8m today, an increase of 632,520%.

Results for "usability" and "accessibility" have also shot up astronomically over seven years, increasing by over 5,500% and 8,300% respectively. Search results for "social media", "online marketing" and "email marketing" all show a growth of over 1,000%

Trenton Moss, director at Webcredible, said: "The rise in the importance of websites and online marketing over the past seven years is already well-known, but Google's launch of its 2001 search index really shows the extent of this.

"With online now a major channel to reach customers and prospects, disciplines like online user experience, search and social media are now crucial elements of growing your business and this is demonstrated by the sheer volume of results returned on a search for these terms."

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