Google goes back in time for its 15th birthday with 1998 Easter egg

26 Sep 2013

Image via Ufuk ZIVANA/Shutterstock

It was 15 years ago that the little search engine that could first came into corporate being, when founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin incorporated Google as a privately held company on 4 September 1998. It’s likely that the tech giant will celebrate its birthday tomorrow, but first there’s a hidden treat to take users back to the old days.

What began as a research project in Stanford University in January 1996 has since grown to become likely the most well-known brand on the internet. Back then, it was called ‘BackRub’ but today, it’s Google – a name that substitutes ‘internet search’ as often as Hoover takes the place of ‘vacuum’.

From humble beginnings in a friend’s garage, Google now has more than 70 offices in more than 40 locations, including its EMEA headquarters in Dublin, which recently celebrated 10 years in Ireland.

Though the date has varied over the years, since 2006, Google has marked its birthday with a doodle on 27 September. But, ahead of time, an Easter egg has been discovered that brings users back to Google of 15 years ago when they search for ‘Google in 1998’.

Google in 1998 Easter egg

The ‘Google in 1998’ search page

The most striking thing about Google in 1998 is not how much has changed, but how much has been retained of the original, simple interface – a testament to the ever-changing and ever-updating engine’s consistent usability.

Links to other search engines of the day – AltaVista, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos et al – line the bottom of the page. To keep the aged theme, these links are visited through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

Easter egg image by Ufuk ZIVANA via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.