UK newspapers in the Google time tunnel
With everyone keenly paging through Google's 2001 search index, I thought it might be interesting to see how our British national newspapers were faring on Google back at the turn of the decade, and how their sites are represented in the Internet Archive.
Searching for the Daily Express in 2001 turned up express.co.uk at number 3 on Google.
The homepage that Google links to shows that the attention of the Express was firmly turned to the Sarah Payne murder case.
The Daily Mail website creeps in at #10 in Google's 2001 results when you search for 'Daily Mail'. This was a symptom of their fragmented approach to the web.
The Wayback machine retains examples of Daily Mail content from 1998, when their online presence was focused on IT topics.
A search for the 'Financial Times' sees the FT site firmly at #1 in 'old' Google - but under the full length URL rather than the ft.com we know today.
Google links to a version of the FT site that dates from December 2001, and I can't help noticing that their red 'special reports' branding looks very similar to a lot of the branding associated with BBC News today.
The Guardian have had one of the longest established British newspaper presences on the web, so it is no surprise to find them at #1 for a search for Guardian - or that the homepage Google links to doesn't look too unfamiliar, given that it hasn't been that long since this look and feel was retired.
The Independent features at #1 on 2001 Google for a search of their name, with a description that echoes their old advertising slogan - "It is, are you?"
Sadly, the Wayback Machine seems to have mislaid their old CSS file, and so it is hard to get an impression of what the site used to look like.
Of all of the old newspaper sites on display via Google 2001 and the Wayback Machine, it appears that The Mirror is the one that has changed the most.
The Sun is a newspaper that has always struggled to hold down the number one spot for their name on Google. It is one of those things that shows a weakness of the Google algorithm. Since online links are such a valuable currency, The Sun newspaper always finds itself out-gunned by Sun Microsystems.
I adore the fact that in 2001 the online version of The Telegraph was titled The Electronic Telegraph, just like the device that gives the newspaper its name.
The Times was top dog for their keywords in 2001, but not by using the timesonline.co.uk URL we are familiar with today.
Sadly, The Times is one of those sites that has blocked the Wayback Machine from archiving the way their website looked, and they have not archived the old look'n'feel themselves
And this site? Well, my first currybetdotnet blog post was back in December 2002. Prior to that, the 2001 version of Google indexes currybet.org.uk, which exclusively concerned itself with pictures of weddings, joke articles about football, and the all-important results of the football sweepstake that still gives this site its name.
And how refreshing to see Google search results that aren't clogged up with adverts, YouTube and Wikipedia!