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October 10, 2008

2001: A Search Odyssey

To celebrate the by-now-probably-evil company's tenth anniversary, Google has recreated its search engine from January 2001. For those of you who have forgotten the halcyon days of the pre-9/11 world, the Dow was still above 10,000, "social networking" had little to do with the internet, and George W. Bush wanted to pursue a "humble" foreign policy. Though we're hardly the first to try it, Gelf decided to look up some current search terms in Google's wayback machine.

Palin 2001
We searched for the following terms, counted down from the most results to the least.

"Lehman Brothers"
Number of results: 166,000
First result: Lehman Brothers' website, which is still there.
Favorite result: A short BusinessWeek article from 1996 discussing the possibility that the now-defunct investment bank could be bought out.

"Subprime Mortgage"
Number of results: 2,000
First result: A Pacific Business News article from 1998 about the downfall of some small subprime lenders in Hawaii. The piece references a "widespread industry shakeout." If only.
Favorite result: In light of recent events, we kind of like that first one.

"Facebook"
Number of results: 1,810
First result: A now-disappeared "searchable database of all students and faculty" from Harvard's Environmental Studies department.
Favorite result: The Trinity Dailyjolt Online Facebook FAQ from Trinity College. The first question is "Can anyone in the world see the Facebook?"

"Barack Obama"
Number of results: 671
First result: The current presidential candidate's Illinois State Senate page.
Favorite result: "Mr. Obama tries to go to Washington." This page, from the University of Chicago website, is an article about Obama's failed 2000 Congressional campaign. Considering that he's well on his way to running Washington, the notion seems somewhat quaint.

"War on Terror"
Number of results: 551
First result: A Boston Globe editorial (also gone by now), which mentions "President George W. Bush's pledge to intervene less in conflicts not involving U.S. vital interests."
Favorite result: Well, considering Bush's subsequent actions, that one was pretty interesting. Also, there are several results which use the phrase in reference to the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.

"Axis of Evil"
Number of results: Three—and, no, they're not Iran, Iraq and North Korea.
First result: A website with photos of World War II, and some text praising veterans.
Favorite result: A disappeared press release involving the Aryan Nations, which includes the phrase "weaponto [sic] blunt and destroy the
spearhead of kike-spic-spook-gook-nigger axis of evil arrayed against our race."

"Sarah Palin"
Number of results: 0







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