The word “engine” has always been synonymous with progress, and this is just as true online as it is for rail or automobile travel. When it comes to the history of search engines, however, one company clearly dominates. Google receives an estimated 500 million new search queries per day – and that does not include the searches of previously searched-for data. Outstripping its nearest competitor (Bing) by a wide margin, Google is far and away the search engine leader and as such, the company writes the rules of the Internet.

However, it wasn’t always this way. As the Internet emerged, search engines were born and they came and went with varying degrees of popularity. Some still hang on with a tenacious grip, although you don’t hear of anyone “Yahooing” something in the way we “Google” for answers. Still, without these early frontrunners paving the way, Google would not have inspiration to draw from (and later completely crush as competition).

The History of Search Engines

  • Alta Vista: Debuting in 1994, Alta Vista was the first to offer unlimited bandwidth and to allow natural language search queries. Alta Vista was purchased by Yahoo in 2003.
  • Infoseek, Galaxy, Lycos and WebCrawler: 1994 was a popular year for launching search engines, although the Internet was still in its infancy. At this point, the size of the World Wide Web meant extensive search options were not a priority. Most of these engines achieved a degree of success, however. Netscape used Infoseek as their default engine, Excite bought Webcrawler, and Lycos was sold to a large Korean Internet portal. Galaxy is still available at
  • Yahoo Search: Yahoo Search also launched in 1994, but as a collection of websites. It was only after 2000 that they transitioned from a directory format to a search engine.
  • LookSmart debuted in 1995 and faced an uphill battle for search engine real estate despite early success. Although you can still access the site at, most people are more apt to say “Looksmart who?” than to choose this engine over Google.
  • Google: The Internet behemoth was born in 1996 and quickly picked up steam in the search engine industry.
  • Ask Jeeves: The dignified Internet butler made a polite debut in 1997. Jeeves retired in 2005 but Ask lives on as one of the current top five engines.
history of search engines

Jeeves contemplating his retirement.

  • MSN Search and Open Directory Project: 1998 saw MSN enter the fray alongside Open Directory Project. Remember MSN…that one gets very interesting around 2009.
  • AllTheWeb, Overture, Snap, Cucil and Livesearch: Between 1999 and 2008, a handful of search engines tried to cash in on the money train, with varying degrees of success.
  • Bing: Remember MSN Search? Rebranded as Bing in 2009, this engine ranks in the number 2 spot for the world’s favourite search tool. How do I know that? I Googled it. Sorry Bing!

Google Domination

To date, no engine has captured more market share than Google. In fact, today many of us cannot even think of a world where Google doesn’t exist. It’s not just their search engine that is successful, the company has promoted technological progression through everything from driverless cars to the Google Lunar X Prize.

While we have seen in the history of search engines that Internet companies come and go, no matter what happens from here on out, Google’s contribution to the Internet, and subsequently, life as we know it, will leave a lasting impression for as long as digital information exists.

Enter Kazooky GRO (Google Results Optimization)

Our Kazooky GRO™ formula has helped many companies go from zero to hero on not just Google but many search engines. When you rank high on search engines you will receive valuable Web traffic that is looking for YOU and YOUR SERVICE. Leads do not get stronger than when someone finds your business when they are looking for a specific service you offer.

Why Google results and not search results? Because frankly every other search engine amounts to almost zero next to Google. And when you rank well for Google you WILL rank well on other search engines. So quickly your optimized Google Results becomes the all around search results you are looking for.

Special thanks to WordStream for their very informative infographic. To learn more about search engine history, check out their site.