10 big changes with search engines over my 20 years of covering them
Search Engine Land founding editor Danny Sullivan looks at how search has changed over the two decades he's been writing about it.
Today is my 20th anniversary of covering search and search engines. To mark the occasion, I wanted to reflect on some of the big changes that I’ve seen over the past two decades of covering the space.
1. The search revolution
Chances are, the first resource you turn to if you have a question about something is a search engine, whether it be Google, Siri, Bing, Yelp, others or a combination of services.
This simple act that you likely don’t think twice about was a highly revolutionary change to how people sought information. Before popular consumer-focused search engines emerged just over 20 years ago, people got answers the same way they had for hundreds and thousands of years: largely by asking other people.
If you needed an answer, you turned to people like a teacher, a professional, a best friend or a librarian. Sure, there were also tools to use: libraries, library catalogs, Yellow Pages and professional databases like LexisNexis. But for most people, getting an answer to many questions meant asking others.
Enter search engines, our new best friends that seemed to have an answer for anything we needed. They revolutionized how we gather information in the way the smartphone changed how we communicate — yet, unlike the smartphone, search has been a quiet revolution. Perhaps it seemed so natural that we didn’t think to be in awe of the profound change it delivered.
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