I am doing a workshop that involves touching on the subject of UX to students that I am assuming have no knowledge of this area (mainly high level manager types).

I have a number of slides explaining the area, but what I would like to show them (as I believe they will be able to relate to this) is the changing face of Google Search, right the way back from the 90s to now.

The answer I am looking for:

  • URL links to interactive older versions of the front end.
  • If the above does not exist, some screenshots of different versions.

For those that have time, a more thorough answer involving any reference articles on why Google made changes at each version would be also very useful.

Although the back-end search algorithms do impact the user experience, I would like to concentrate on the front-end layout, and talk through some of the changes that have come about.

IMPORTANT EDIT Correction to the above. Although the very front end of Google has changed over time, I now realise that actually I need to gain access to historical pages that are initially returned on submitting a search query to Google. e.g. Search for Pizza in google today.

closed as off topic by Phil, Charles Boyung, Ben Brocka Aug 29 '12 at 20:06

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  • 1
    If you're looking for old front end code, minus pictures, The Wayback Machine generally covers it – Ben Brocka Aug 28 '12 at 1:47
  • Something like this? businessinsider.com/… – Phil Aug 28 '12 at 6:26

I don't think you can find interactive versions of every change google has made in his algorithms.

Althrough you can find around 8600 screenshots since its starts in 1998 here:




An interactive map of different versions is difficult to come by, especially if you want to have the old algorithms as well. I think this is only possible to find at guarded Google Plex code repository, out of reach for us Google users.

If the above does not exist, some screenshots of different versions.

Still, there are a 14 screenshots available from this article, which is interesting from a design / UX perspective. Fromm the first one in 1997:

Google screenshot 1997

... through the design of 2002:

Google screenshot 2002

... to the clean design of 2009:

Google screenshot 2009


I don't think you can access it. If I understood correctly, you want to use the 'old' version of Google search algorithm to compare results with the currently one, right? If is something like that what you want, I would say that is not possible. These follow links http://www.floridatechnologyjournal.com/features/42-rokstories/1061-history-of-google-algorithm-changes-infographic and http://www.seomoz.org/google-algorithm-change can give you some insights about the algorithm changes.

  • "Although the back-end search algorithms do impact the user experience, I would like to concentrate on the front-end layout" Happy to get screenshots of results from different versions, but ideally consistent search terms. e.g. search for pizza. – Simon Aug 28 '12 at 10:13
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    So, if the position of keywords in SERP is not your goal and you only want to see the front-end, I think your best shoot is to try to search for images (screenshots) of search results. Something like this googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008_09_01_archive.html – Daniel Aug 28 '12 at 10:28

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