Yahoo! Ends What Brought It To Life – The Yahoo Directory
2014 has seen a lot of goodbyes. From support for Windows XP, to our beloved MSN ending in its last base – China, another remnant of our initial experiences with the Internet is being added to the list of RIPs: the Yahoo directory.
Yahoo directory might not ring a bell for the users who started off their web browsing experience with Google. To make it clearer, Yahoo! directory was the Google of the early days of the Web. It was the search engine introduced in 1994 that made Yahoo! the “it” thing for many, many years.
Yahoo directory was actually formed before even website crawlers were created. This means that it was actually a directory of websites organized into various tiers, which was all edited by the humans. For example, to search for sites related to video games, you had to go to the Yahoo Directory, select “Computers and Internet,” then “Games”, then “Video Games.”
For all of you who still don’t realize the importance the directory imparts to Yahoo!, “Yahoo” actually stands for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle” — in reference to the organization of sites in a hierarchical order.
You can have a sneak peek into the past thanks to Archive.org that has the experience of searching through the old directory saved here for all generations to follow.
To illustrate the process during 1996, the search for Nintendo 64 showed you this:
Though it seems so crude in contrast to the sleek search engines now, but back then this personally selected and maintained process was a big thing. It was organized, making it easy to find the relevant websites through all the options available and was a relief to the eye compared to the random content on early crawler based search engines. Managing to get your website into the directory was indeed an achievement unlocked.
Yahoo directory was the main focus on Yahoo’s homepage till 2002, after which it was overthrown by advanced crawler based search similar to Google’s. Now, after 20 years of providing Yahoo with all the fame it has, the directory is to be closed down, which was announced by Yahoo! in a rather indifferent manner.
There had to be something less shameful than the way Yahoo announced the coming closure of the directory from which Yahoo literally takes its name.
– Danny Sullivain, Search Engine Land
Though Yahoo! has failed to give due credit to the product that literally brought Yahoo! to life, others have took it upon themselves to say a final few words to the dying directory:
Ought to write eulogy for Yahoo Directory that’s closing. In its day, it was the most important place to be listed http://t.co/iWXyuJZxWw
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) September 26, 2014
We may have forgotten all about the directory with the advent of Google and Bing search engines, but this news has brought a nostalgic pang of bitter-sweet feelings to every 90s user.