The Days Before the Internet, Netscape & Google

Netscape Screenshot

Before we get into Google’s search algorithms, it’s important to understand what the computing days were like before the internet. Prior to the internet, software systems were self contained, company specific with each having their own menu system and didn’t necessarily talk to each other. It’s pretty clear that a menu system makes navigation very easy. This was the paradigm people expected when they used software systems back then. All these software systems had their own menus but didn’t necessarily talk to each other. They were very narrow in scope (ie Finance System, Oil & Gas System, Accounting System etc).  When the internet became ubiquitous, in the 90’s, it was a game changer.  A real paradigm shift. The Internet wasn’t narrow in scope but just the opposite, information on millions of subjects. Was there a menu system for this ? Of course not. In fact, the way the internet is designed, there can never be an overall menu system. How could all this information be navigated ?  Netscape was the first widely used browser back then, which allowed us to “read” the internet by translating all this complicated HTML stuff. You could click on links and display linked pages. Pretty neat.   To be clear, without the introduction of the browser, we wouldn’t be able to read anything.  While the browser was a huge step forward, it still meant we couldn’t really find anything very easily. Then, along came something called “Google”. Google allowed people to enter keywords and find related articles in a matter of seconds. Very cool. Well, it didn’t take long for web designers/developers to realize that in order for their websites to be found by Google, they needed to add keywords. The more keywords you could add on one page the better, right ? The short answer is yes. At least it worked for a while, until Google figured out what “black hat” web designers were up to. This started the beginning of algorithm changes for Google to level the playing field. Algorithms such as Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird and the latest Mobilegeddon. In the next post, I’ll talk specifically about these algorithms.

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