What the World’s Biggest Websites Looked Like at Launch

What the World’s Biggest Websites Looked Like at Launch
Last updated: Monday January 30th 2012
Reading time: 3 minutes

1. Google

While the company’s design doesnt 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 didnt know HTML and were looking for a quick design.

Old Google Website

2. 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.

Old YouTube Website

3. 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 mans face in the upper left hand corner, a digitally manipulated photo of Al Pacino.

Old Facebook Website

4. 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.

Old Yahoo Website

5. 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.

Old Twitter Website

6. 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.

Old Myspace Website

About the author
Laurence

I am a 26 year old WordPress Web Designer and SEO Consultant based in Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK. I have designed and maintained sites with over 20,000 pages on large corporate websites, smaller small business sites, and tiny personal websies and blogs. I provide freelance WordPress web design services in my evenings and weekends and also work full time at Toast Design in Banbury. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and on Google+.