Monday, March 27, 2006

the wayback machine

Do you ever feel nostalgic for the old days of the World Wide Web? Do you miss your Netscape or Excite homepage? Would you like to reminisce about a company that is no longer? With the Wayback Machine you can satisfy these desires by revisiting web pages of long ago.

The Wayback Machine is an internet archive with more than 55 billion cached web pages. The archive was started in 1996 by Brewster Kahle, so they have no pages older than 1996, but it grown steadily since then. Currently, they have more than 1 petabyte of stored data. You can read more about the hardware they use for crawling and storing here.

To use the Wayback Machine to view old pages, enter the URL of the site you are looking for. The search engine then returns a listing of all of the pages it spidered by date. Select pages you are interested in to view their cached copy. Most often graphics are missing, but in many cases the links on the cached page redirect to a cache of the destination.

Wayback does not have keyword search, and their spiders still struggle with JavaScript and Flash, but they have organized some of the most searched data into collections. The Web Pioneers group is interesting as it showcases early Yahoo! and Amazon.


At 6:42 PM, Anonymous Stuart said...

What do you mean Wayback for the Excite homepage?! Maybe I'm just Old School. What are you using now?


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