Internet search engines in the mid 1990s through to 1999 were a very different animal to the sophisticated tools of today’s internet. In those days basic searches using Alta Vista (the Google of the time) could often generate seemingly unrelated results with a variety of random topics intermingled. During the 1990s there was no Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome or Opera. Instead there was Mosaic. PC and printer hardware took up a large chunk of our desk spaces and offices looked very different. As the internet revolution slowly took hold very few could grasp that here was indeed a kind of industrial revolution of the modern day but that is exactly what it was. We had the pain of “dial up” internet connections which took forever and today we feel hard done by when our broadband fails to respond immediately!
Yahoo appeared in April 1994, Ask Jeeves launched in April 1997 with Google following in September 1998; even Microsoft got in on the act in mid-1998 with MSN. In the intervening years, many other search engines were developed and launched, each learning from the early pioneers and from their competitors. Since the dawn of Google we have seen enormous internet and technological advances. The most useful of these changes has been the radical improvement in the capability of search engines with the clear dominators being Google, Yahoo and Bing (owned by Microsoft). The battle to stay on top is an on-going one but Google remains most people’s first port of call when commencing an on-line search.
Add the evolution of search engines to the development of cloud sharing and you have a powerful technological force. These two single technological advances have led to great changes in the way in which we work. Both have been instrumental in the rise of the Virtual Assistant and freelancers who can work from anywhere and this can only increase further as more people catch on to the possibilities.
Who knows where development in technology will be by 2050? Not I. However, I am certain that the rate of technological change is so rapid that things we have not even thought of today will become commonplace. To illustrate this just think on this – according to a Google search result made today, 25 May 2016, “The first text message was sent on 3 December 1992, when the 22-year-old British engineer Neil Papworth used his computer to wish a “Merry Christmas” to Richard Jarvis, of Vodafone, on his Orbitel 901 mobile phone.” Now reflect just how commonplace texting is today and try to imagine what innovations could be in daily use many years from now.
The growing intelligence of Google is remarkable and is a testament to the talent that Google attracts to its workforce. I certainly see Google right up there playing its part in the technology landscape in years to come, or at least a derivative of the Google we know today.