Wednesday, 1 October 2008

'Barack Obama', 'Britney Spears' and 'David Beckham' produce interesting results when using the newly re-instated Google 2001 web index

As part of their 10th birthday celebrations Google have re-instated their oldest web index from January 2001. This index is accessible through, uses the original Google Homepage logo and allows users to search using the January 2001 Google web index.

Google home page from January 2001

Using the January 2001 Google index makes me realise how far both Google and the web have come in just 7 years. Results from 2001 are just text and the results themselves look very different. Top ranking sites are a mix of random addresses and pages hosted on services like Geocities. No mention of Wikipedia or any major news organisations in the top 2001 results for the queries I looked at.

'David Beckham' using Google 2001 produced 87,100 results with as top result:

A search for David Beckham using Google 2001 (click for larger image)

'David Beckham' on Google 2008 produces 16.1m results with official website as top result.

A search for David Beckham using Google 2008 (click for larger image)

'Britney Spears' on Google 2001 produces 936,000 results with the top result being for Apple and 2nd result being for Britney Spears official website:

Results for Britney Spears from Google 2001 (click for larger image)

In 2008 'Britney Spears' produces 86,700,000 results! Wikipedia is at number one, but the official Britney Spears site remaining in second position.

Britney Spears results from Google 2008 (click for larger image)

The most striking difference though is for the term 'Barack Obama'. Using the 2001 Google index a search for 'Barack Obama' produces just 773 results with official government pages occupying top position:

A search for 'Barack Obama' using Google 2001 (click for larger image)

In 2008 Google returns 60,100,100 results for 'Barack Obama' with the top result being the official Barack Obama site and number two position being the Barack Obama entry from Wikipedia.

'Barack Obama' results on Google 2008 (click for larger image)

Being able to play with the January 2001 Google Index really does bring home how much the internet has developed in the last 7 years. It also shows what an incredible rise to prominence Barack Obama has had - the increase in Search results for 'Barack Obama' over this period amounts to an average of around 20,000 new results each day, every day for 7 years!

Related posts
Google 2001: George W Bush 'running to keep the country prosperous'
Google 10th birthday logo change and other initiatives
Project 10^100 (Google's 10th birthday change the world project)


Anonymous said...

I had to tear myself away from searching the old Google index this morning. It's good to see I wasn't the only one dipping in and enjoying the strange results!

Ryan Fitzgibbon said...

What I found interesting is the fact that a search of "Google Maps" (obviously from before it was created!) brings up 3 results compare to 68,300,000 today! An even bigger rise compared to Obama.

Dan said...

Paris Hilton is a good one - in 2001 the top result was a hotel...

Nick Burcher said...

Some great examples - maybe I should try and do a top 10 list of things on the Google 2001 index that now have a different context?! (Though Paris Hilton will be hard to beat!)

Anonymous said...

Or no context whatsoever:


Dan said...

I've found a few more -