In honour of Google’s 15th Birthday, we scoured the Internet (using Google, of course) to find some of the earliest mentions of the search engine giant in mainstream media.
It was an interesting experiment. Google is part of our online lives every day today, but 15 years ago, it was an unknown startup.
Scott Rosenberg, co-founder of Salon.com, was ahead of the curve by a few years (The New York Times didn’t run a story on Google until the early aughts), with his piece, aptly titled “Let’s Get This Straight, Yes, There Is A Better Search Engine”, which Rosenberg wrote in December 1998.
He opens the piece, ranting about Go.com, Disney’s failed attempt at joining the search portal directory in the late-90s, which now redirects to a Disney homepage.
“Just what the world needs: another Web site that unites directory listings, news, weather, stock quotes, movie reviews, free e-mail, shopping and other online functions on one ugly-as-sin Web page,” Rosenberg writes.
His tone changes when he talks about Google, however, a sign that he knew something special was afoot.
When you conduct a general search on a broad term like, say, “President Clinton,” you never know whether you’ll actually find the White House Web site — or some homely page chronicling an eighth-grade class trip to D.C…This is an everyday problem familiar to anyone who uses search engines regularly. So here’s some good news for us: a Silicon Valley start-up company with the unlikely name of Google.com is showing the way.
Rosenberg knew something special was coming. And he was right. Google’s initial success came from the fact that it could do Web searches better than the competition. It wasn’t the first search engine, but it was by far the most useful.
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