How Google Changed Through The Years

Larry Page

Google’s original premise was to be a super simple, stripped down search engine.

It became famous for delivering 10 highly accurate blue links on a white screen. It also had a playful “I’m Feeling Lucky” option that would take you straight to a web page.

As the company has grown in ambition, so too have its search results.

While it’s possible to get just 10 links, it’s rare. Google’s search results have gotten more and more bloated over time.

As Google has decided to take on the world in just about everything — social networking, mobile phones, mapping, TV/video — its search results have gotten more and more loaded.

We’re walking you through all the changes here.

(A special thanks to Danny Sullivan, who took screenshots of some Google search changes in 2007 for Search Engine Land and posted the images to Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.)

Here's the orginal Google search page from 1998. Pretty adorably retro.

These are the early search results. Just a list of links with some ads on the sides and the top.

On September 11, 2001, Google put links right on to news stories. At the time this was controversial inside the company.

In 2006, the feature creep really starts. Google inserts map previews at the top of results.

Universal Search in 2007 also added videos from YouTube...

...and news stories from Google News...

...and product results from Google's shopping search.

In 2008, Google advertised its first Android phone right on This was a change of pace because it always said it would keep free of ads.

In 2009, Google started to play with Social search results, leaning on data in Gmail and Friendfeed.

In February 2011, Google started to mix its social search results with its normal search results.

Then, in June 2011, Google built a real social network, Google+. This would change its search results considerably.

Google+ started infiltrating search results at the beginning of this year.

Here's another change. When you search for someone, you get this big box of information on him or her.

Google is a lot less shy about putting an ad on now. Look at this giant, interactive ad for the Nexus 7 that ran this year.

And here, finally, is what Google search can look like nowadays. Check out what a mess it can be. You have the search results, but you also have this giant box taking up half the page on the right side.

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