The US-based site is building a digital library of “Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form”. Like all the best and biggest libraries access is free to all and there is plenty to entertain.
You can browse through over 150 billion web pages that have been archived reaching back to 1996 up to a few months ago. It’s easy to use too. Just type in the web address of a site or page where you would like to start into the Wayback Machine, and press enter. A selection of dates will show you the various archives found for that site. Click the link and you will be taken to archived pages from around that date.
If nothing else it is a great example of how far web design has come from some of the garish colour-confusions that used to take so long to load via a dial-up modem. Picking a brand and seeing how the design, look and feel has developed over the years is an interesting use of this webtool that we hope will continue for years to come.
Looking back to 1999, Google was still in Beta, while in 1996 the BBC site was little more than an online version of the Radio Times. The Football Association website of May 2002 reports on David Beckham’s fitness ahead of the World Cup in the days pre-Twitter and Facebook.
With so many internet-enabled devices in our lives nowadays this is a nice reminder of the days when logging on was something of a rare treat and the content out there was much smaller in volume than it is today.
Have you found an interesting site via the Wayback Machine? Let us know by leaving a comment below.