These days, we're all so plugged in all the time that we can probably describe the homepages of a ton of our favorite sites from memory. But do you remember, say, what Facebook looked like when it was new? How about Google? Amazon? Take your pick — because as the BuzzFeed Blue video “Your Favorite Websites: Then Vs. Now” proves, they've all come a long, long way from their humble beginnings. It's kind of like visiting the Ghosts of Websites Past: They may still exist in the present, and they'll probably still exist in the future — but boy, do they look different now than they did way back in the day.
Sometimes I feel like the progression of the Internet is the one thing that makes me feel older than anything else in the world. I'm 30 now, but when I was a kid, the World Wide Web was just starting to poke its little digital head into our homes, classrooms, workplaces, and more. I still remember the first websites I visited (Crayola and Klutz Books), with my dad helping me figure out how to navigate them; I remember when there were a million different search engines to choose from; I remember when the only way to get a web-hosted email address was on something like Hotmail (which wasn't owned by Microsoft at the time); and so on and so forth. Younger Millennials may have grown up with the Internet, but for those of us who are a little older? It's more like the Internet grew up with us. Simply put: Good gravy, I'm getting old.
Here are a few of the digital giants that have grown up to become mighty forces, indeed; scroll down to check out the full video.
1. Google Now:
Sleek, chic, and easy on the eyes, it's not hard to see why Google is so many people's preferred search engine.
2. Google in 1998:
WHAT IS THIS MONSTROSITY.
OK, so maybe it's not that bad… but it's definitely not as visually pleasing as today's version. I find it intriguing that Google used to market itself with an exclamation point, not unlike another company I could name,
3. Yahoo! Now:
Does anyone actually use Yahoo! as a search engine anymore?
4. Yahoo! In 1995:
Yahoo!, of course, has become more of a news network than a search engine in the intervening decades; way back in the day, though, it looked like this. Wacky, isn't it?
5. Facebook Now:
There's more information on the page than there is on Google's homepage, but it's weirdly calming, is it not?
6. Facebook in 2004:
This one? Not so calming. Related: 11 years have passed between these two iterations. 11. Years. Remember that “good gravy, I'm getting old” thing? Well… good gravy, I'm getting old.
7. Twitter Now:
Oooo, so pretty.
8. Twitter in 2006:
I always think of Twitter as being super recent, but clearly I need to realign my thoughts. I mean, I started my own infrequently used Twitter account five years ago when I started writing on the Internet for a living, and even that can't really be considered “recent” anymore. 2006 is ancient in comparison.
Also, I miss you, Fail Whale.
9. YouTube Now:
Interestingly, YouTube seems to have followed the reverse path from Google. It's kind of busy-looking now…
10. YouTube in 2005:
...But it definitely wasn't when it was brand-spanking-new.
11. Amazon, Now vs. 1995:
Wow. Just… wow. I don't think I seriously started using Amazon until I got to college circa 2003, but it's worth remembering that the massive e-retailer was first founded in 1994. Its original name was “Cadabra," and it began as bookstore. My, what a long way it's come.
Check out the full video below to see the “before and after” for Wikipedia, MySpace, and more:
Images: BuzzFeed Blue/YouTube (11)