What Was the First Search Engine Ever Created?

JumpStation is widely considered as one of earliest search engines ever created. Learn more about this historic moment in internet history.

What Was the First Search Engine Ever Created?

The first search engine to be created was JumpStation, which was launched in 1993. It used automatic programs, called robots or spiders, to request web pages and then report what they found to a database. At the time of launch, it had 4,000 websites in its database and it took the engine just six months to search for its millionth query. Lycos is another old school search engine that still has a functioning site. It was born at Carnegie Mellon University in May 1994, when creator Michael Loren Mauldin turned his university project into a full-fledged company.

AltaVista was launched in December 1995 and quickly became one of the most popular search engines in the 1990s. Its popularity was due to the design of the search engine; it was the first full-text database with full search capability on the web that had an accessible and easy to use interface. On the day of its launch, the site accumulated more than 300,000 visitors. In two years, it recorded daily traffic of 80 million.

Excite is another of the oldest search engines. It was founded in 1994, and the site was officially launched the following year. The creators were six Stanford University students: Graham Spencer, Joe Kraus, Mark VanHaren, Ryan McIntyre, Ben Lutch and Martin Reinfried. Excite was one of the first search engines to provide more than just a search.

When the site was launched in 1995, it also offered news and weather portals, an email service, an instant messaging service, stock quotes and a fully customizable home page. In 1996, Excite purchased WebCrawler and signed exclusive agreements with many of today's largest technology companies, including Microsoft and Apple. Ask Jeeves started in 1996 and immediately gained popularity thanks to its unique question and answer format. The vision was to create a search engine that would allow users to get answers using natural language and keyword search. While many of us now take it for granted thanks to Google, at the time, it was revolutionary.

Boolean operators are for literal searches that allow the user to refine and expand the search terms. Not only was the user interface particularly well-structured, but the relevance of the search results was outstanding. Some have removed their public search engine and are promoting exclusive editions for companies, such as Northern Light. Wandex technology was the first to crawl the web, index and search the catalog of indexed web pages. Archie and Gopher's searchable website database didn't have the natural language keyword capabilities used in Excite or Ask Jeeves. It also had the ability to search Usenet, making it one of the most comprehensive search tools on the web at the time. At that time, Microsoft beat the market leader, Netscape, in the battle for the most used browser and managed to win a huge number of users for its search engine.

Search results are generally presented in a line of results, often referred to as search engine result pages (SERPs).Google was able to convince right from the start with its much better search results and won the race for search engine dominance right from the start. By limiting the search area to a specific user, not only can important resources be saved, but the search for information becomes more personal and possibly relevant to the person you are looking for. The program downloaded the directory lists of all files located on public and anonymous FTP (File Transfer Protocol) sites, creating a searchable database of file names; however, Archie Search Engine did not index the content of these sites since the amount of data was so limited that it could be easily searched manually. Most web search engines are commercial companies backed by advertising revenue and some of them allow advertisers to have their ads higher in search results. This search engine with an unusual name is a combination of a metasearch engine and its own web crawler. Many search engines, such as Google and Bing, offer personalized results based on the user's activity history.