WOF: What search engine did you use before Google?

By on February 4, 2011, 8:00 PM
There's no denying Google's dominance in the search engine market. The Mountain View giant currently holds somewhere between 80-90% of the global search market, depending on where you get your numbers, and is almost as dominant in the U.S. alone with a 66% share, according to the latest comScore report. It's become so present in our lives that the word 'google' itself is commonly used as a verb and has even made it to the Oxford and Merriam-Webster dictionaries.

Besides carrying one of the world's most powerful brands, for many of us Google also drives the technology behind our email, instant messaging, calendar, mapping tool and whatnot. Not bad for a company with little over 10 years of life, many of us have been surfing the web longer than that. Which brings the question: Speaking specifically of web search, what were you using before Google came along? Or if you don't rely on Google today, what's your preferred search engine?

For me it was mostly Altavista, but before that I also used to check Lycos, HotBot, WebCrawler and the Yahoo Directory.

User Comments: 112

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Nima304 said:

I've never used anything before Google. Heil Google!

Guest said:

Combination of Yahoo!, Hotbot, and Infoseek.

Guest said:

Metacrawler ftw!

Guest said:

Same here, Google is King.

Guest said:

All Hail Google!!!

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:


Guest said:

AltaVista until summer 1999 - then Google

Guest said:

Still using Metacrawler.

Guest said:

I used to use Dogpile

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, Metacrawler, Dogpile and whatever microsoft had before Bing.

Guest said:

yahoo then google

Guest said:

AltaVista until summer 1999 - then Google


Guest said:

yahoo i think, after i found google ive used them ever since ^^ google is the best! ^^

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

For some reason Yahoo never appealed to me, so before Google I mostly relied on Altavista and Infoseek. I remember at one point there was no single search engine that delivered usable results for all queries, so I had to stumble back and forth until something good came up. Then Google came along and I never looked back, though to be honest as much as the I love instant search, I hate the screenshots that go along when you hover over results.

Guest said:

Altavista too.

hitech0101 said:

Yahoo & askjeeves besides Google but first was Google as it was default on my browser.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Ask Jeeves was my main search engine, though I occasionally used Yahoo. After reading this article, I went and visited ask.com for the first time since Google came out.....boy has it changed, lol. I can't believe they got rid of Jeeves...the butler of the search engine :P

gooderguy gooderguy said:

I used several like AltaVista, Lycos, Excite, Infoseek, Yahoo, and then when Dogpile came out and combined many of those I started using it. Wow, just now for the heck of it I tried all those search sites and they are still all there, just one changed names, it's been so long.

Guest said:

Excite was the bomb!!

Lurker101 said:

Yahoo, Hotbot and AltaVista

Ssendi said:

Aol was very common by then!!! then Msn because Hotmail was my first email hence msn used to be my home page!!!

milford50 said:

I used to use Ask Jeeves mostly, miss the Richie rich butler

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

AltaVista, I liked it because it had a simple interface.

WinXPert WinXPert said:

altavista and lycos

abe10tiger abe10tiger, TechSpot Paladin, said:


Guest said:

Yahoo until a friend of mine show me a page than looked stupid and with a funny name called Google.

Cota Cota said:

Skyne... Google, then Altavista and switched back to Google

treeski treeski said:

I... honestly can't remember if I used anything before Google or not. I can't remember if I ever searched for anything. For now, Bing is my default search engine. I still use Google occasionally, especially when I just need more results on whatever I'm looking for (often programming stuff).

TD25x TD25x said:

Dogpile and excite

be_patient said:

Metacrawler and Dogpile for me


Ask Jeeves and Alta Vista ><

andreasf93 said:

I didn't use internet before Google, so, Google.

Mizzou Mizzou said:

Webcrawler, had the little spider logo back then.

Jyrkz said:

i was using IE search bar from the left side dont know what search it used,, i was too little, but after i found out google, dreams came true got my cheats for games etc..

tengeta tengeta said:

I used just about everything that existed before Google, in fact I still use Dogpile today.

Guest said:

Altavista ...

spikester48661 spikester48661 said:

yahoo and google but its all bing at distime for me

Guest said:

I've always used yahoo.

Guest said:

I first started using Dogpile. I then moved on to Ask Jeeves. I now use Yahoo! I like the customizable My Yahoo page much better.

Guest said:

I first started using Dogpile. Used hotbot for quite some time, I then moved on to Ask Jeeves. I now use Yahoo! I like the customizable My Yahoo page much better.

Johny47 said:

That was so long ago, I think it was just internet explorer =/

I really like Google.

SeiveD said:

I think I used Altavista the most. I had tried Excite, Lycos, Hotbot and Yahoo for brief periods of time.

mrtraver said:

I very rarely use google. I used Yahoo for years, and then Bing. My IE9 default search provider is Bing.

MaXtor MaXtor said:

I used AltaVista before Google.

Guest said:

combination of altavista and yahoo

Guest said:

"back in the day"....Gopher is what I used

Then yahoo, altavista and a couple others.

Now it's 50-50 between bing & google.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Umm.. what did I use? I dont know.. I think Google erased any memories of other searchers from my brain.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I remember typing the word "fart" into Ask Jeeves at school once...That's the only memory i have before Google.

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