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That’s How World’s Biggest Websites Looked Like at Launch

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Google

While the company’s design doesn’t seem to have changed a whole lot, its services and capabilities sure have. Created by Stanford PhD students Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google officially launched Sept. 4, 1998. The interface was so simple because the founders didn’t know HTML and were looking for a quick design.

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MySpace

Launched in August 2003 as a competitor to Friendster, MySpace’s original design was pretty bland. When MySpace skyrocketed to popularity between 2005 and 2008, News Corp. bought the social networking site for $580 million. Although it holds the former title of most-visited site on the Internet, MySpace sharply declined in the past few years. The site recently sold to Specific Media and Justin Timberlake for $35 million.

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YouTube

The video sharing website that brought us hits like “Charlie bit my finger” and “Sneezing panda” first launched in February 2005 with a practically empty interface and no evidence of videos. The first video uploaded to the site was created by one of YouTube’s founders, Jawed Karim, and was titled “Me at the Zoo.” It was a 19-second clip of him in front of elephants at the San Diego Zoo.

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Facebook

Facebook — or should I say Thefacebook — was created by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004. As the original interface indicates, the site was only available for Harvard University students, which eventually expanded to today’s 800 million users across the world.  The interface also featured the image of a man’s face in the upper left hand corner, a digitally manipulated photo of Al Pacino.

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Yahoo!

An acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,” Yahoo was the product of another Stanford duo, Jerry Yang and David Filo. In March 1995 the site was heralded as the first online navigational guide to the web. The original interface featured a simple search bar and hyperlinks to other websites, but soon became a sleek, personalized news website.

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Amazon

The mecca of online shopping can trace its roots back to 1995, when it was primarily an online bookstore. Jeffrey Bezos named the site after the Amazon River. The original site contained small text and icons, which still informs its most recent design.

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Twitter

This barely recognizable design was the first concept of co-founder Jack Dorsey back in July 2006. It featured the word “Twttr,” which was inspired by Flickr and SMS shortcode (which always includes five characters). Although the interface design has changed at least six times in the last five years, that hasn’t deterred its more than 100 million users.

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NYTimes

While the history of the print publication dates back to 1851, its website only traces back to 1996. As you can see, the interface features a smaller webpage and only one photo, as opposed to the much larger and photo-heavy site we visit today.

 


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