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Pretty Please, Give Me A Web Time Axis

By - March 09, 2009

Tonight I’ve wanted to find out information detailing the backstory of how Google initially powered Yahoo search back in the early 2000s. I know, I know, it’s in my book, at least, it’s in the notes and interviews I did for the book, but damn, that was a long time ago. I am lazy, I want to simply ask Google. But I can’t date-range my search, dammit. If I could, I’d ask for results for “google powers yahoo search” from 2001-2004.” That would give me a treasure trove of early blog posts, Cnet articles, and the like, and I’d be off to the races. But instead, the damn time axis is polluted by whatever has been most popular in the past few months.

Give me a Web Time Axis, gosh dang it!

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9 thoughts on “Pretty Please, Give Me A Web Time Axis

  1. andilinks says:

    What was the size (in TB) of the entire Google index in 2004 and now? They do keep everything, I wonder what the intervals are between snapshots.

  2. Brian Hayashi says:

    Before Evernote I would use Onfolio to store web pages, and before that, I’d save using Filemaker or use Outlook to mail complete web pages to myself. Somewhere I still have the early pages for Netscape, Yellowbook, Architext, Lycos and so many others. I suppose it was a holdover from my days writing search engines for CD-ROMs — storage was cheaper than it had ever been, and I felt the need to hoard the moment while it was happening around me.

    One day, Facebook may be able to take all of the data it remembers in our daily interactions, and allow us to play back, rewind and fast forward our status messages and assorted media through different phases of our lives. We’ll be able to create a composite view based partly on our view of ourselves, but also what others saw us doing from a distance.

    Today, I’m not sure if Facebook has a system for remembering the exact look and feel of the pages we share with others. If not, I hope they consider it, because on that faraway day, we’ll need those pages to provide context and cues to help us remember what we were thinking and feeling.

  3. Hey John, have you already tried using Google Experimental Labs Search? It has a timeline view and you can even filter by date range just like you asked. It still isn’t that great but it’s at least one step closer to what you asked for.

  4. MJJ says:

    This would make for an interesting variable in doing keywords buys.

  5. sean says:

    With both Google news and google blog search you CAN delimit by date…though granted not in the query.

  6. You can use the daterange operator to find pages creation between 2001 and 2004. The search is [google powers yahoo search daterange:2451910-2453005]. I admit that it is hard to remember how to use daterange, because it accepts Julian dates. There are a bunch of sites that can help you find the right dates like Fagan Finder.

  7. Yahoo kept switching back and forth between Google and Inktomi and maybe even AltaVista. I think it changed every year. I was at Inktomi for part of that time.

    Google didn’t have a press release every time they lost Yahoo as a customer, so you’d need to search Inktomi and AltaVista press releases, too. Unfortunately, the Inktomi releases don’t seem to be on the web any more. The AltaVista releases might be available at