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How did world famous websites look when they were launched?

How did world famous websites look when they were launched?

Posted on: Friday 1st June 2012

As the websites we use every day gradually develop and embrace new advances in web technology, it is hard to imagine how these sites looked when they first hit our monitors.

To celebrate the launch of our new website (and mark the passing of our old site), we take a peek at the homepages of some of the most famous websites in the world, as they were when launched. Below is a fantastic post from Mashable, which takes us back. Enjoy!


Original article by Amy Burke via Mashable

Since the rise of the Internet in the ’90s, the web has shown no signs of slowing down. We’ve watched the birth and evolution of social media, e-commerce and online video entertainment.

It’s hard to imagine that the treasured websites we all use today were at one point just scribbles on a piece of paper, or the brainchild of a 19-year-old college student. With the help of the Wayback Machine, which provides screenshots of any website imaginable from its inception until now, we’re can view the original designs and content of the most visited websites in the U.S.

Seeing how far the world has come in terms of web design, where do you foresee us heading next?



Launched September, 1998

While the company's design doesn’t seem to have changed a whole lot, its services and capabilities sure have. Created by Stanford PhD students Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google officially launched Sept. 4, 1998. The interface was so simple because the founders didn’t know HTML and were looking for a quick design.




Launched February 2005

The video sharing website that brought us hits like “Charlie bit my finger” and “Sneezing panda” first launched in February 2005 with a practically empty interface and no evidence of videos. The first video uploaded to the site was created by one of YouTube's founders, Jawed Karim, and was titled “Me at the Zoo.” It was a 19-second clip of him in front of elephants at the San Diego Zoo.



Launched February 2004

Facebook -- or should I say Thefacebook -- was created by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004. As the original interface indicates, the site was only available for Harvard University students, which eventually expanded to today's 800 million users across the world.  The interface also featured the image of a man’s face in the upper left hand corner, a digitally manipulated photo of Al Pacino.



Launched March 1995

An acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,” Yahoo was the product of another Stanford duo, Jerry Yang and David Filo. In March 1995 the site was heralded as the first online navigational guide to the web. The original interface featured a simple search bar and hyperlinks to other websites, but soon became a sleek, personalized news website.



Launched 1995

The mecca of online shopping can trace its roots back to 1995, when it was primarily an online bookstore. Jeffrey Bezos named the site after the Amazon River. The original site contained small text and icons, which still informs its most recent design.



Launched July 2006

This barely recognizable design was the first concept of co-founder Jack Dorsey back in July 2006. It featured the word "Twttr," which was inspired by Flickr and SMS shortcode (which always includes five characters). Although the interface design has changed at least six times in the last five years, that hasn't deterred its more than 100 million users.


The New York Times

Launched 1996

While the history of the print publication dates back to 1851, its website only traces back to 1996. As you can see, the interface features a smaller webpage and only one photo, as opposed to the much larger and photo-heavy site we visit today.



Launched August 2003

Launched in August 2003 as a competitor to Friendster, MySpace's original design was pretty bland. When MySpace skyrocketed to popularity between 2005 and 2008, News Corp. bought the social networking site for $580 million. Although it holds the former title of most-visited site on the Internet, MySpace sharply declined in the past few years. The site recently sold to Specific Media and Justin Timberlake for $35 million.



Launched July 2005

Even Mashable had its own humble beginnings.  Starting off as a personal social network and digital trends blog by Pete Cashmore in July 2005, the technology news site has expanded to welcome a full-time team of writers and staff members that work from its main New York and San Francisco offices, as well as remote facilities around the world.


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