Some call it the "Virtual Time Machine" while others call it Rembrandt's of the past. Google has become nostalgic and in celebration of it's 10th anniversary they've put their 2001 search index online for about 1 month(till end of October). This index gives you a feel of how the world has changed in the past 7 years. And it also helps us realize that the future is so unpredictable.
If you're wondering why, on its 10th anniversary, it isn't a 1998 index, well, Google has quoted that the 98 archives weren't readily accessible and hence they came up with the Jan 2001 search index instead. Google has given you the option to view the current link for any search as well as the cached link from 2001, to give you a good way to compare. However, don't be upset if you can't find a few sites, which you're sure existed in 2001, because Google has also stated that some links have been removed on request while some other sites have blocked google.com.
Now, I'll leave it up to you to go experience the fun(click on the picture above) or you can read about some of my own interesting searches below:
1. Search item: "Wikipedia"
First result: link to "Nupedia". For those of you who've never heard that name b4, it was an English web-based encyclopedia whose articles were written by experts and licensed as free content. The idea did not last too long(Mar 2000-Sep 2003). In June 2008, CNET hailed Nupedia as one of the greatest defunct websites in history. Today it is known as the predecessor of Wikipedia.
2. Search item: "orkut"
Results: No link to our present community site which probably every teenager knows. But instead it sites links to the OWNER of orkut.com, ie. Orkut Buyukkokten, an employee of Google and a student of Stanford University in 2001.
3. Search item: "Youtube"
Result: This entry which gives you 1,070,000,000 hits today, gave me the following message: Your search - Youtube - did not match any documents. :-)
4. Search item: "ipod"
This word has done fortunes for Apple today. But the 2001 archives knew nothing about it. Instead it returned entries such as Image Proof of Deposit Document Processing System (IPOD), IPO disorder(A post-traumatic stress syndrome from the 90s), International Program of Ocean Drilling(IPOD), and the list goes on...
5. Search item: "blog"
Result: Though blogs in 2001 also referred to the same "blogs" of today, but the number of search entries in 2001 were 76,400 as compared to 3.32 billion today.
6. Search item: "Gmail"
Result: Gmail in 2001 was not the brainchild of Google. Instead, it reffered to a Gnome email client which used Mysql database as the datastore.
7. Search item: "9/11"
Result: This date is one which humankind shall never forget. The day when more than 3000 people were killed and many others were left lifeless by the 4 suicide attacks which rocked the whole world. In Jan 2001, 9 months b4 the attack, this same search led to various events such as meetings scheduled for September 11 in addition to a site called www.9-11.com(A complete search research tool for the emergency professional). This link however has been removed from the archive and it gives just one line -" Our Hearts go out to the victims of 9-11".
8. Search item: "BitTorrent"
Results: This entry which gives approx. 58 million hits today, asked me to check if all words were spelled correctly. :-)
9. Search item: "Barack Obama"
Result: This was a real shocker. It shows how famous a guy can become in a short span of time. 2001 - 771 results : 2008 - 75,400,000 results
I guess that's enough to get you interested if you already weren't. Don't miss this opportunity guys. And yeah, if you come up with any other very interesting searches, do post them as comments. Happy Googling!!