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Was Google the First Internet Search Engine? ALIWEB

Search Engine
Search Engine (Credit: Pixabay)

Last Updated on February 13, 2023 by Okoro Daniel O.

Was Google the first ever Internet Search Engine? No! Absolutely not. Yes, Google so far remains the most powerful and majorly sought after search engine in the world. Beating Microsoft‘s Bing, Yandex, Yahoo and many other search engines and even China’s Chinese/Asian search engine, Baidu.

Thanks to the invention of Android that tipped Google‘s market more times than what it used to be before its existence (of Android).

Oh, yes! You might have come across this popular phrase on social media, which says;
I wonder how Google’s engineers(developers) developed/made Google without googling their errors on Google.

Well, Google wasn’t the first search engine platform on the internet!

Archie (with domain name, was the first ever search engine ever invented on the internet. Early online journalists used an Internet search tool called Archie, which was released on September 10, 1990.

Archie is a tool for indexing FTP archives, allowing users to more easily identify specific files. It is considered the first Internet search engine. The original implementation was written in 1990 by Alan Emtage, then a postgraduate student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Archie Website
Archie Website

Archie has since been superseded by other, more sophisticated search engines, including Jughead and Veronica. These were in turn superseded by search engines like Yahoo! in 1995 and Google in 1997. Work on Archie ceased in the late 1990s. A legacy Archie server is still maintained active for historic purposes in Poland at University of Warsaw’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling.

NAME: Archie
Domain name/URL:
YEAR FOUNDED/LAUNCHED: September 10, 1990.
FOUNDED BY: Alan Emtage and Bill Heelan.
TYPE OF SITE: Search Engine.

ORIGIN Of Archie

Archie began as a project for students and volunteer staff at the McGill University School of Computer Science in 1987, when Peter Deutsch (systems manager for the School), Alan Emtage, and Bill Heelan were asked to connect the School to the Internet.

The name derives from the word “archive” without the v. Emtage has said that contrary to popular belief, there was no association with the Archie Comics. Despite this, other early Internet search technologies such as Jughead and Veronica were named after characters from the comics. Anarchie, one of the earliest graphical ftp clients was named for its ability to perform Archie searches.

How Archie worked

The earliest versions of Archie would simply search a list of public anonymous File Transfer Protocol (FTP) sites using the Telnet protocol and create an index of the FTP files. FTP is essentially a way to transfer files between computers. To view the contents of a file, it had first to be downloaded. The indexes are updated on a regular basis (contacting each roughly once a month, so as not to waste too many resources of the remote servers) and requested a listing. These listings were stored in local files to be searched using the Unix grep command.

The developers populated the engine’s servers with databases of anonymous FTP host directories. This was used to find specific file titles since the list was plugged in to a searchable database of FTP sites. Archie did not recognize natural language requests nor index the content inside the files. Therefore, users had to know the title of the file they wanted. The ability to index the content inside the files was first introduced by Gopher.

Development of Archie

Heelan and Deutsch wrote a script allowing people to log in and search collected information using the Telnet protocol at the host “” []. Later, more efficient front- and back-ends were developed, and the system spread from a local tool, to a network-wide resource, and a popular service available from multiple sites around the Internet. The collected data would be exchanged between the neighbouring Archie servers. The servers could be accessed in multiple ways: using a local client (such as archie or xarchie); telnetting to a server directly; sending queries by electronic mail; and later via a World Wide Web interface. At the zenith of its fame the Archie search engine accounted for 50% of Montreal Internet traffic.[citation needed]

In 1992, Emtage along with Deutsch and some financial help of McGill University formed Bunyip Information Systems the world’s first company expressly founded for and dedicated to providing Internet information services with a licensed commercial version of the Archie search engine used by millions of people worldwide. Heelan followed them into Bunyip soon after, where he together with Bibi Ali and Sandro Mazzucato was a part of so-called Archie Group. The group significantly updated the archie database and indexed web-pages. Work on the search engine ceased in the late 1990s.

However, Aliweb (with domain name, also claims to be the oldest internet search engine.

Aliweb Website
Aliweb Website

ALIWEB (Archie Like Indexing for the Web) is considered the first Web search engine, as its predecessors were either built with different purposes (the Wanderer, Gopher) or were only indexers (Archie, Veronica and Jughead).

Aliweb was founded in the year 1994 by Martijn Koster.

Aliweb Whois
Aliweb Whois Details

According to, the domain name was registered on 1997-03-14 (14th of March, 1997) under NameSilo, LLC (as the registrar), it has a DNS pointed to and respectively.

Is Aliweb still functioning?

Well, yes. And somehow, no. “No“, because just like many others, this might be your first time of knowing such platform existed.

Aliweb Alexa Stat
Aliweb Alexa Stat

Aliweb’s Alexa rank as at the time of making this article ranks about 2,447,490 (for Aliweb) globally with no designated rank in any country.

Of course, who knew about a search engine platform called Aliweb? Not too many.

NAME: Aliweb
Domain name/URL: at the Wayback Machine (archived 1997-07-12)
FOUNDED BY: Martijn Koster.
TYPE OF SITE: Search Engine.
CURRENT STATUS: Active and accepting suggestions for link inclusion.


AliWeb Logo

First announced in November 1993 by developer Martijn Koster while working at Nexor, and presented in May 1994 at the First International Conference on the World Wide Web at CERN in Geneva, ALIWEB preceded WebCrawler by several months.

ALIWEB allowed users to submit the locations of index files on their sites which enabled the search engine to include webpages and add user-written page descriptions and keywords. This empowered webmasters to define the terms that would lead users to their pages, and also avoided setting bots (e.g. the Wanderer, JumpStation) which used up bandwidth. As relatively few people submitted their sites, ALIWEB was not very widely used.

Martijn Koster, who was also instrumental in the creation of the Robots Exclusion Standard, detailed the background and objectives of ALIWEB with an overview of its functions and framework in the paper he presented at CERN.

Koster is not associated with a commercial website which uses the aliweb name.



Is Google the founder of Aliweb?


Who is the owner of Android?


This operating system (Android) was first developed by Android, Inc., a software company located in Silicon Valley before it was acquired by Google in 2005.

Who Founded Aliweb?

Martijn Koster.

Who is Martijn Koster (Biography)

Martijn Koster (born ca 1970) is a Dutch software engineer noted for his pioneering work on Internet searching.

Koster created Aliweb, the Internet’s first search engine, which was announced in November 1993 while working at Nexor and presented in May 1994 at the First International Conference on the World Wide Web. Koster also developed Achiplex, a search engine for FTP sites that pre-dates the Web, and CUSI, a simple tool that allowed you to search different search engines in quick succession, useful in the early days of search when services provided varying results.

Koster also created the Robots Exclusion Standard.

What year was Aliweb Founded?

May 1994.

Can I search for something on Aliweb?

Yeah, sure! It’s still active.

What year was Archie Founded?

September 10, 1990.

Who Founded Archie?

Alan Emtage and Bill Heelan.

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