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These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things - Search Engines

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things - Search Engines
Sean Thompson 09/23/2011

The first "Online" experience I can recall was researching a school paper back in 1988. My dad had just bought a really cool new service called Prodigy. I searched the Prodigy encyclopedic database and pulled up information about Tigers. I printed out a color picture of one and was amazed that I could do all this from home. I consider this experience my first web search and it is a little special to me.

With this short but sweet experience under my belt, I was soon happy to move on to bigger and better things. In 1991 or 1992, we got AOL for DOS, followed closely by AOL for Windows. This was revolutionary and I was thrilled. I could pull down information enough to keep me busy and away from the Atari video games that I would beat and never want to play again. Once you win, it's never the same. AOL offered a whole new world and I loved it. I still remember my first username "Taz"; try to get that one now, from any ISP. Yet, the wiles of AOL quickly became mundane and I wanted more.

This is where the story gets good. It was a brisk spring morning in March or April, or whatever... And I discovered Netscape, and not only Netscape, but Go, AltaVista and Yahoo! What a find. I quickly started ignoring the AOL interface once the binggiding dialup logon was complete, I would quickly switch over to Netscape and perform a real web search. Time went on; I switched between search engines looking for the best, a long stint with Dogpile, while switching back to AltaVista for "warez" searches. This was back when it was still "". For a while I had my own little love affair with AltaVista.

I thought I had it all figured out, AltaVista and I would grow old together, right? Along came this young new thing Google. Google was pristine. Cut and dry web searching, and you always got what you asked for. Well nearly always, no filtering, no corporate search positioning. Just unadulterated web search, the best in the world. I still love Google, though I can't say the same nice things about it anymore. They filter, they position and if you make the mistake of letting them create a profile for your homepage life sucks until you get the classic one back.

I still use Google search. It's not my homepage... I've got Bing for that, a new pretty picture to look at every day, though, I don't use their search. Google is my search engine of choice, right up in the corner of my browser. My default, my only, my... oh look, a new shiny web page. Could this be the next best thing?


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