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before google

merlin's picture



Many people believe that the concept of the modern search engine (such as google) is very recent. However, forward thinkers were conceiving of something similar as early as 1878. In this year, a man named Henry B. Wheatley founded the Index Society in Great Britain, with the goal of creating a massive General Index from society members who individually wrote pages of reading notes to send to a central organizing body. The body of "indexers" had the task of compiling those notes into The General Index - basically a huge body of information. This donuts an awful lot like google in a time before the Digital age would make it possible. Eventually, the society never really worked out and ran out of funding (it was a very ambitious project for its time). 

Personally, I believe that that the concept of a readily available mass storage of information and a collective intelligence is a similar theme to both databases and that the idea of Google has been around for longer that we usually think. 




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