January 30, 2012
As we all know, every blog has a beginning. The beauty of the web is that websites can be stored in a permanent cache; effectively taking a virtual snapshot of the way the blog exists at that moment in time and storing it for later retrieval. Wouldn’t it be neat if you could go back in time and see what certain blogs looked like then? Well, it turns out you can. Archive.org has a public cache that stores snapshots of websites at regular intervals. It is called the Wayback Machine, and works just like a regular search engine; I tapped into it to bring you some blog history. You punch in the URL of the blog/site you want to look up, and they show you what dates they have stored in their database. The tool is not flawless, and many searches turn up corrupted pages or missing images, but it is really cool nonetheless. I did quite a bit of poking around on the database, and here are some of the snapshots I found:
The Blogs I Looked Up
From left to right, down the list in order, the blogs covered were Blog Herald, Boing Boing, Copyblogger, Engadget, John Chow, and Problogger. The thumbnails are in sequential order, so that you see the earliest snapshot of the blog to the most recent. To view each snapshot, just click on the thumbnail to load the full-size version of it. If you roll the mouse over each thumbnail, it will tell you what blog the snapshot is from and which date as well. This project was a lot of fun, and I could have gone on forever with it.
One thing that we can all take away from this example is the amazing amount of hard work and dedication the owners of these blogs have committed to their sites. We sometimes forget that everyone has a starting point, and everyone at one time was a nobody. Even Google. Now, I am gonna bet that after you read this post, you are going to head over to the Wayback Machine and start looking up all kinds of sites! Go for it.