I enjoyed reading PC World’s look back at 1985’s top websites yesterday on Media Guardian. By 2008 standards, the only familiar brands among the top ten visited sites are Xerox and HP – Mr Gates hadn’t seen the importance of a structured domain name strategy at this point!
Reminiscing about how the internet used to look is interesting and, like a history lesson, helps the online world reflect on how to evolve. A favourite site of mine is www.archive.org, where you can use “The Way Back Machine” to look at how the internet used to look. This is full of little discoveries and nuggets of info. My favourite being that www.facebook.com used to redirect to www.aboutface.com – an early social network where organisations could share information with each other. So, to clarify, what stood on the site prior to Facebook being built? A social network! Its description was slightly more wordy back then however - to quote their product description in 1999, aboutface.com was a “Web-based electronic directory” which lists “employee names, faces, biographies, and floor plans to help enhance your corporate village”.
I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to review Google’s former branding on The Way Back Machine– many of the Google logos from yesteryear are greyed out. Either my browser isn’t up to scratch or the search supremos would prefer us only to marvel at the current branding.
The 80s CBC news report below lets us to step back in time to when the internet was in its infancy and understand how the web became part of everyday life. It makes for pretty bizarre viewing for today's tech generation!