Most people have already forgotten how dark and unsignposted the Internet once was. A user in 1996, when the Web comprised hundreds of thousands of “sites” with millions of “pages,” did not expect to be able to search for “Olympics” and automatically find the official site of the Atlanta games. That was too hard a problem. And what was a search supposed to produce for a word like “university”? AltaVista, then the leading search engine, offered up a seemingly unordered list of academic institutions, topped by the Oregon Center for Optics.
I don’t think too many legislators were actually on the net on those early days. I remember them fondly, however, as they constructed my childhood, a period of nostalgia for most. Looking back though, I am hardly fond of those days of the Internet. Dial up was horribly slow. The Oregon Trail, while fun, was pixelated, and the content on Prodigy and AOL was thin. Looking on Google today, it is unfortunately constructed as a giant fed by bandwidth and content, but I think we tend to forget the giants back then consumed less of both, giving consumers poor quality on both fronts.
Of course there are problems with the technology as it employed today, but I think that is because we forget Google is made of people. All too often I am reminded of Louis C.K. — Everything’s amazing and nobody is happy. Embeded below for your enjoyment.