What did people use before Google to search the web?

By Daniel Kolitz

The year is 1997. You’re wearing whatever people wore back then—some kind of jean jacket, I’m guessing—and talking to your friend about your new favorite movie, the recently released Mike Myers vehicle Austin Powers. You’re quoting the movie, and your friend thinks this is hilarious. Then things take a dark turn. “I thought Randy Quaid was excellent,” your friend says. “Randy Quaid?” you think, trying hard not to punch the wall. “Randy Quaid wasn’t in Austin Powers.” You try explaining this to your friend—“I believe,” you say tersely, “that you’re thinking of Clint Howard”—but your friend is adamant. To settle this dispute, and salvage what remains of your friendship, you boot up your 90-pound computer tower. Forty minutes later, you have made it onto the internet. The question now is: Where do you go? How, before Google, did people settle asinine disputes, and/or find other sorts of information? For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out to a number of experts to find out.

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