What would Google have looked like in the 1980s?

For those of us old enough to remember a world of computers before the windows-based graphical user interfaces developed by Apple and Microsoft – when every byte of memory mattered, modems were big clunky devices you plugged an old-style telephone handset into and we considered 5¼-inch floppy disks to be wondrously compact – this little gem by the folks at mass:werk should tickle your fancy as much as it did mine:

It is a faithful DOS-based representation of what the Google search engine might have looked like had it been invented in the 1980s, a decade or more before it was actually created (in September 1997) and grew to become the monster it is today: a business with revenues of $38bn and a market capitalisation of $195bn at the time of writing. To put that latter figure into context, while Google is worth ‘only’ about one-third of the most valuable company in the world, Apple, it is on a par with old and new-world giants such as Microsoft and General Electric (both $203bn), ten times the size of former online search leader Yahoo ($19bn) and nearly five times the market valuation of the UK’s most successful company, Tesco ($42bn).

Best of all, the site actually works! Visit http://www.masswerk.at/googleBBS/, watch it load up and then search away as you would do on the contemporary site. Enter ‘slouching thatcham’ as your search string, for instance, and you will find your way back here.

For any technology lover, it’s enough to send you spiralling into a state of geekgasm. And even if you’re not a massive tech fan, it’s still a simple but lovely piece of design. The world is a better place for having things like this in it.