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Internet History: Blast From The Past

Steven 2 responses General
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Do you know what the biggest websites on the web looked like when they started?

Internet has evolved a lot since its early days, and with the technical improvements of both screen resolution and connection speed, so did web design.

Websites are more graphically-rich, but that’s not the only point of evolution. More and more effort is put into providing internet users with nice browsing experiences.

With all the focus that is put on graphics to capture the ever-shrinking attention span of web surfers, we can wonder if we reached the “too much” point, and maybe we can learn something about the more candid approach that these internet giants were taking back in the days.

Come with me on a journey through the evolution of the web in the past 20-something years with this collection of 47 websites’ designs from now and then.

Take a look at these designs, and let me know what you think of the evolution of the web. Was it always for the best?

1. Adobe.com 1996 – 2013

Adobe Systems Incorporated is an American multinational computer software company headquartered in San Jose, California, United States. – Source

adobe 1996-2013

adobe 1996

adobe 1996

adobe 2013

adobe 2013

2. Amazon.com 1994 – 2013

Amazon.com, Inc. is an American multinational electronic commerce company with headquarters in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is the world’s largest online retailer. – Source

amazon 1994-2013

amazon 1994

amazon 1994

amazon 2013

amazon 2013

3. Aol.com 1996 – 2013

AOL Inc. is a multinational mass media corporation based in New York City that develops, grows, and invests in brands and web sites. – Source

aol 1996-2013

aol 1996

aol 1996

aol 2013

aol 2013

4. Apple.com 1996 – 2013

Apple Inc., formerly Apple Computer, Inc., is an multinational corporation headquartered in Cupertino, California that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software and personal computers. – Source

apple 1996-2013

apple 1996

apple 1996

apple 2013

apple 2013

5. Ask.com 1996 – 2013

Ask.com is a question answering-focused web search engine founded in 1996 by Garrett Gruener and David Warthen in Berkeley, California. – Source

ask 1996-2013

ask 1996

ask 1996

ask 2013

ask 2013

6. Att.com 1997 – 2013

AT&T Inc. is an American multinational telecommunications corporation headquartered in Whitacre Tower, downtown Dallas, Texas. – Source

att 1997-2013

att 1997

att 1997

att 2013

att 2013

7. Baidu.com 2000 – 2013

Baidu, Inc., incorporated on January 18, 2000, is a Chinese web services company headquartered in the Baidu Campus in Haidian District in Beijing. – Source

baidu 2000-2013

baidu 2000

baidu 2000

baidu 2013

baidu 2013

8. Bbc.com 1997 – 2013

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcasting corporation. Its main responsibility is to provide impartial public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man. – Source

bbc 1997-2013

bbc 1997

bbc 1997

bbc 2013

bbc 2013

9. Blogger.com 1999 – 2013

Blogger is a blog-publishing service that allows private or multi-user blogs with time-stamped entries. It was developed by Pyra Labs, which was bought by Google in 2003. – Source

blogger 1999-2013

blogger 1999

blogger 1999

blogger 2013

blogger 2013

10. Cnn.com 1995 – 2013

Cable News Network (CNN) is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by American media mogul Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage. – Source

cnn 1995-2013

cnn 1995

cnn 1995

cnn 2013

cnn 2013

11. Dell.com 1996 – 2013

Dell Inc. (formerly Dell Computer) is an American multinational computer technology corporation based in Round Rock, Texas, United States, that develops, sells, repairs and supports computers and related products and services. – Source

dell 1996-2013

dell 1996

dell 1996

dell 2013

dell 2013

12. Deviantart.com 2000 – 2013

DeviantArt is an online community showcasing various forms of user-made artwork. It was first launched on August 7, 2000 by Scott Jarkoff, Matthew Stephens, Angelo Sotira and others. – Source

deviantart 2000-2013

deviantart 2000

deviantart 2000

deviantart 2013

deviantart 2013

13. Digg.com 2004 – 2013

Digg is a social news website. It allows people to vote web content up or down, called digging and burying, respectively. News and publisher streams were added with Digg v4 in August 2010. – Source

digg 2004-2013

digg 2004

digg 2004

digg 2013

digg 2013

14. Ebay.com 1997 – 2013

eBay Inc. is an American multinational internet consumer-to-consumer corporation, headquartered in San Jose, California. It was founded in 1995, and became a notable success story of the dot-com bubble. – Source

ebay 1997-2013

ebay 1997

ebay 1997

ebay 2013

ebay 2013

15. Espn.com 2004 – 2013

ESPN is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and recorded event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming. – Source

espn 2004-2013

espn 2004

espn 2004

espn 2013

espn 2013

16. Facebook.com 2005 – 2013

Facebook is an online social networking service, whose name stems from the colloquial name for the book given to students at the start of the academic year by some university administrations in the United States. – Source

facebook 2005-2013

facebook 2005

facebook 2005

facebook 2013

facebook 2013

17. Flickr.com 2004 – 2013

Flickr is an image hosting and video hosting website, web services suite, and online community that was created by Ludicorp in 2004 and acquired by Yahoo! in 2005. – Source

flickr 2004-2013

flickr 2004

flickr 2004

flickr 2013

flickr 2013

18. Foxnews.com 1996 – 2013

Fox News Channel (FNC), also known as Fox News, is a cable news channel owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of News Corporation. – Source

foxnews 1996-2013

foxnews 1996

foxnews 1996

foxnews 2013

foxnews 2013

19. Friendster.com 2002 – 2013

Friendster is a social gaming site that is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was previously known as a social networking website. – Source

friendster 2002-2013

friendster 2002

friendster 2002

friendster 2013

friendster 2013

20. Google.com 1997 – 2013

Google Inc. is an American multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and products. These include search, cloud computing, software and online advertising technologies. – Source

google 1997-2013

google 1997

google 1997

google 2013

google 2013

21. Hi5.com 2003 – 2013

Hi5 is a social networking site based in San Francisco, California. By 2008, comScore reported that Hi5 had become the third most popular social networking site in terms of monthly unique visitors. – Source

hi5 2003-2013

hi5 2003

hi5 2003

hi5 2013

hi5 2013

22. Hotmail.com 1996 – 2013

Hotmail was a free web-based email service operated by Microsoft as part of Windows Live, which was recently replaced by the newer Outlook.com service by Microsoft. – Source

hotmail 1996-2013

hotmail 1996

hotmail 1996

hotmail 2013

hotmail 2013

23. Hp.com 1996 – 2013

Hewlett-Packard Company or HP is an American multinational information technology corporation headquartered in Palo Alto, California, United States. – Source

hp 1996-2013

hp 1996

hp 1996

hp 2013

hp 2013

24. Hulu.com 2007 – 2013

Hulu is a website and over-the-top (OTT) subscription service offering ad-supported on-demand streaming video of TV shows, movies, webisodes and other new media, trailers, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage from NBC, Fox, ABC, TBS, and many other networks and studios. – Source

hulu 2007-2013

hulu 2007

hulu 2007

hulu 2013

hulu 2013

25. – 2013

IGN (formerly an initialism for Imagine Games Network) is an American entertainment website that focuses on video games, films, music and other media. – Source

ign 1998-2013

ign 1998

ign 1998

ign 2013

ign 2013

26. Linkedin.com 2002 – 2013

LinkedIn is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. Founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. – Source

linkedin 2002-2013

linkedin 2002

linkedin 2002

linkedin 2013

linkedin 2013

27. Livejournal.com 1999 – 2013

LiveJournal (LJ) is a social network owned by SUP Media where Internet users can keep a blog, journal or diary – a wide variety of political pundits also use the service for political commentary, particularly in Russia. – Source

livejournal 1999-2013

livejournal 1999

livejournal 1999

livejournal 2013

livejournal 2013

28. Microsoft.com 1994 – 2013

Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational software corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services related to computing. – Source

microsoft 1994-2013

microsoft 1994

microsoft 1994

microsoft 2013

microsoft 2013

29. Mozilla.com 1998 – 2013

Mozilla is a free software community best known for producing the Firefox web browser. The Mozilla community uses, develops, spreads and supports Mozilla products and works to advance the goals of the Open Web described in the Mozilla Manifesto. – Source

mozilla 1998-2013

mozilla 1998

mozilla 1998

mozilla 2013

mozilla 2013

30. Msn.com 1995 – 2013

MSN is a collection of Internet sites and services provided by Microsoft. The Microsoft Network debuted as an online service and Internet service provider on August 24, 1995, to coincide with the release of the Windows 95 operating system. – Source

msn 1995-2013

msn 1995

msn 1995

msn 2013

msn 2013

31. Myspace.com 2003 – 2013

Myspace is a social networking service with a strong music emphasis. Myspace was launched in August 2003 and is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California. – Source

myspace 2003-2013

myspace 2003

myspace 2003

myspace 2013

myspace 2013

32. Nytimes.com 1996 – 2013

The New York Times is an American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since September 18, 1851. – Source

nytimes 1996-2013

nytimes 1996

nytimes 1996

nytimes 2013

nytimes 2013

33. Photobucket.com 2003 – 2013

Photobucket is an image hosting and video hosting website, web services suite, and online community dedicated to preserving and sharing the entire photo and video lifecycle. – Source

photobucket 2003-2013

photobucket 2003

photobucket 2003

photobucket 2013

photobucket 2013

34. Pinterest.com 2010 – 2013

Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies. – Source

pinterest 2010-2013

pinterest 2010

pinterest 2010

pinterest 2013

pinterest 2013

35. Skype.com 2003 – 2013

Skype is a proprietary Voice over IP service and software application that was first released in 2003. – Source

skype 2003-2013

skype 2003

skype 2003

skype 2013

skype 2013

36. Sony.com 1996 – 2013

Sony Corporation is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Konan Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Its diversified business is primarily focused on the electronics, game, entertainment and financial services sectors. – Source

sony 1996-2013

sony 1996

sony 1996

sony 2013

sony 2013

37. Stumbleupon.com 2006 – 2013

StumbleUpon is a discovery engine (a form of web search engine) that finds and recommends web content to its users. – Source

stumbleupon 2006-2013

stumbleupon 2006

stumbleupon 2006

stumbleupon 2013

stumbleupon 2013

38. Symantec.com 1996 – 2013

Symantec Corporation is an American global computer security software corporation headquartered in Mountain View, California. – Source

symantec 1996-2013

symantec 1996

symantec 1996

symantec 2013

symantec 2013

39. Tagged.com 2004 – 2013

Tagged is a social discovery website based in San Francisco, California, United States, founded in 2004. – Source

tagged 2004-2013

tagged 2004

tagged 2004

tagged 2013

tagged 2013

40. Thepiratebay.com 2003 – 2013

The Pirate Bay is a website that provides torrent files and magnet links to facilitate peer-to-peer file sharing using the BitTorrent protocol. It was founded in Sweden in 2003. – Source

thepiratebay 2003-2013

thepiratebay 2003

thepiratebay 2003

thepiratebay 2013

thepiratebay 2013

41. Tumblr.com 2007 – 2013

Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking website, owned and operated by Tumblr, Inc. The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. – Source

tumblr 2007-2013

tumblr 2007

tumblr 2007

tumblr 2013

tumblr 2013

42. Twitter.com 2006 – 2013

Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets”. – Source

twitter 2006-2013

twitter 2006

twitter 2006

twitter 2013

twitter 2013

43. Whitehouse.gov 1999 – 2013

Whitehouse.gov is the official website of the White House and is owned by the United States government. Launched in October 1994, it contains general American history information, as well as current news pertaining to the President. – Source

whitehouse 1999-2013

whitehouse 1999

whitehouse 1999

whitehouse 2013

whitehouse 2013

44. Wikipedia.org 2001 – 2013

Wikipedia is a collaboratively edited, multilingual, free Internet encyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. – Source

wikipedia 2001-2013

wikipedia 2001

wikipedia 2001

wikipedia 2013

wikipedia 2013

45. WordPress.org 2003 – 2013

WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and a content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL which runs on a Web hosting service. – Source

wordpress 2003-2013

wordpress 2003

wordpress 2003

wordpress 2013

wordpress 2013

46. Yahoo.com 1996 – 2013

Yahoo! Inc. is an American multinational internet corporation headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. It is widely known for its web portal, search engine Yahoo! Search, and related services. – Source

yahoo 1996-2013

yahoo 1996

yahoo 1996

yahoo 2013

yahoo 2013

47. Youtube.com 2005 – 2013

YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos. The company is based in San Bruno, California. – Source

youtube 2005-2013

youtube 2005

yahoo 2013

youtube 2013

youtube 2013

It certainly has been a lot of fun for me to dig into the past of all these big websites to see what they look liked in their early years. I hope you enjoyed this post presenting a piece of Internet history as much as I did.

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2 Comments

  1. J.t Dabbagian

    #5 Now I totally miss Jeeves. I used to ask all sorts of silly questions as a kid.

    Also, I totally forgot Skype was created by the same people that made KaZaA. Had to actively remember what KaZaA was too.

    1. It’s interesting to see how people have different experiences with the web.

      I never really used Ask before, even though it’s a real internet giant As a result, I don’t really miss Jeeves. ;)

      Oh really? You forgot what KaZaA was?