The Seven Wonders of the Web
December 27, 2001 2:03 PM   Subscribe

The Seven Wonders of the Web according to The Guardian. Something missing surely?
posted by feelinglistless (51 comments total)

 
"If the internet only consisted of this ultra-fast search engine (Google) it would have justified its existence many times over."

If the internet only consisted of google, then google would have nothing to index. duh. What a stupid thing to write.
posted by locombia at 2:11 PM on December 27, 2001


If the internet only consisted of google, then google would have nothing to index. duh. What a stupid thing to write.

Yeah, the wording there really made my stomach turn.

I don't think it was fair putting EBay and Amazon on that list together, they both cater to consumers and are both commercial.

Also the "Google - Yahoo" combo should have been left out. Include one or the other, not both.
posted by HoldenParis at 2:18 PM on December 27, 2001


Maybe it means Google would have justified its existence if it were the only search engine.

I think what’s missing is the correct link to The End Of Free.
posted by Firefly at 2:18 PM on December 27, 2001


The list does seem weighted towards the mega sites.To be fair to the Guardian though it has extolled the virtues of this site on more than one occasion.
It would definitely be in my top 7 by virtue of the fact that apart from Birmingham City f.c related sites it is the only one I visit every day,without fail.Several times in fact.
posted by Fat Buddha at 2:22 PM on December 27, 2001


Take out yahoo and put in web.archive.org and you got my vote.
posted by manero at 2:28 PM on December 27, 2001


What's wrong with eBay and Amazon being on the list? Yes, they're commercial... but they really are a big influence on the web. There are people who began to use the Internet in large part because they wanted to use eBay. And I think that Amazon figured out that the way to compete with the bookstore down the street was not to try to emulate it but to offer a totally different experience. My local bookstores simply can't tell me what other people who read this book have bought, or look at what I've bought and make pretty good suggestions. The user-created "Listmania!" lists have been great as well.

In fact, I'd venture to say that they belong on the list because they cater to consumers. The Internet has room for all of us: my non-techie wife who loves being able to easily read news from her native country, my teenage brother who just wants to chat w/ his friends and play CounterStrike, me and my security-obsessed explorations, and so on -- and being able to quickly and easily find books/music/whatever that fit your interests while sitting in your boxers at 1am is definitely a big plus.... OK, sorry for the image... :)


posted by elvolio at 2:37 PM on December 27, 2001


Thanks for that link manero.

elvolio, the internet isn't all about "consumerism" that's why having two big players on the seven wonders of the web is kind of overdoing it. Although both services are great, and no doubt as you say, some people started using the internet because of them.
posted by HoldenParis at 2:41 PM on December 27, 2001


Also the "Google - Yahoo" combo should have been left out. Include one or the other, not both.

Amen, Holden, specially since Yahoo's search engine is run by google.
posted by Ufez Jones at 2:47 PM on December 27, 2001


Take off Yahoo, add Metafilter, and you've got something
posted by Outlawyr at 2:49 PM on December 27, 2001


I still find it amazing that they didn't list any of the music download services, since that was all the rage this year, and led to court cases, etc. I know Napster is pretty much dead, but there's plenty of other nice, large services to choose from. Not really that I think they should've been in there, I'm just surprised that it wasn't mentioned.

Oh, yeah, and congrats blogger!
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:00 PM on December 27, 2001


I don't visit any of those sites.
posted by corpse at 3:01 PM on December 27, 2001


corpse, you don't visit google? May the Googlian have mercy on your soul for using other crawlers.
posted by HoldenParis at 3:05 PM on December 27, 2001


I think it's a great list, and I don't know why people are objecting to Yahoo! being there--though I admit it's getting kinda creaky. But it's not the search engine they're celebrating, it's the hierarchical directory. Yahoo! was the first site to offer a synoptic view of the web, and one of the first to figure out a way to make some money from it.
posted by rodii at 3:21 PM on December 27, 2001


I think Yahoo and Google can share the list peacefully. Yahoo's search may be google-powered (a great choice), but Yahoo aside from searches is a powerhouse in its own right as a portal. The origins and growth of this company, though I don't use a think provided by them, is pretty phenomenal and a hallmark of the web. Google is just plain freakin amazing.
posted by holycola at 3:21 PM on December 27, 2001


Google & Blogger--congratulations Ev!--are tools I could not live a wired life without.
posted by barkingterrier at 3:25 PM on December 27, 2001


What I want to know is "Multimap"? Wha? I've never even heard of them... I mean, MapQuest... now _that's_ a geographic wonder, especially with its new aerial photo functionality.
posted by silusGROK at 3:29 PM on December 27, 2001


But rodii, it's the seven wonders of the web NOW, not of 1995. The hierarchical directory is employed by most if not all respectable search engines.

Tha portal aspect is great but right now there are so many of them that you can't really judge which is best. MSN for instance, or try Excite, or Lycos (all are search engines+portals with a hierarchical directory).
posted by HoldenParis at 3:29 PM on December 27, 2001


I still find it amazing that they didn't list any of the music download services, since that was all the rage this year, and led to court cases, etc.

I'd guess because almost none of the download services are on the web. On the Internet, sure. But not the WWW.
posted by anildash at 3:35 PM on December 27, 2001


But rodii, it's the seven wonders of the web NOW, not of 1995. The hierarchical directory is employed by most if not all respectable search engines.

Search engine != directory. Who has made a real go of a directory besides Yahoo! and the ODP at this point? And Yahoo! is, of course, much more than the original directory by now. It was the first real portal and one of the few still standing. I don't use it much, now that google has the ODP data, but think it deserves every bit of the recognition it gets. (Lycos is also ODP, I think, along with HotBot. Dunno who is behind Excite, but anyway none of these has nearly the size or readership of Yahoo!

Note that I'm not a big user of Yahoo!, nor do I own stock or anything, I just think it is still the big dog in its category.
posted by rodii at 3:47 PM on December 27, 2001


What I think is amazing is that somebody thinks The Guardian is a reputable source of information : maybe it is when it comes to reprinting news that came from an agency (read reuters) but honestly I'd let the inet community decide what's hot what's not. It's simply much more accurate (but shhh don't tell anybody they may have been paid for mentioning a site instead of another).
posted by elpapacito at 3:50 PM on December 27, 2001


The Yahoo/Google combo showed some ignorance and of course MeFi should be there...But how come nobody's mentioning the most glaring omission....THE ONION!

The Onion has refined the art of satire to a fare-the-well, brought it to a much larger audience, is a great example of what the net can do for a heretofore small venture and unless I'm mistaken was the first non-tech publication to have it's content released in print format.

It also helped define the dominant web style-smart, opinionated, politically and culturally aware, but with a populist streak and not above lowbrow humor and crudity when called for.

Now many of you will say the Onion is not what it used to be and maybe your right, but it did and does help define the web we inhabit, so it deserves credit on this list.
posted by jonmc at 4:52 PM on December 27, 2001


whoops "it's content" should read "it's web content"...must stop drinking and posting...
posted by jonmc at 4:54 PM on December 27, 2001


Wait! They forgot AOL! Isn't AOL the Internet? How stupid of them.
posted by robbie01 at 4:56 PM on December 27, 2001


Vis10n: I believe The Guardian picked MultiMap because it is a UK-based paper; MapQuest only maps the United States.
posted by bcwinters at 5:01 PM on December 27, 2001


jonmc, The Onion is great in my book. But the fact that it is, in fact, what it used to be has reduced my visits there to a very sporadic level. It kind of writes itself, after you've seen it a few times.
posted by cps at 5:04 PM on December 27, 2001


But rodii, it's the seven wonders of the web NOW, not of 1995

Which lead me to wonder, just what were the best sites of 1995. I dug around, and came up with the best sites of 1994. The Best of the Web Awards for 1994 were announced at the First International Conference on the World-Wide Web in CERN, Geneva (Switzerland).

They included: Best overall site: National Center for Supercomputing Applications; Best Campus-Wide Information System: Globewide Network Academy (from MIT; discontinued); Best Commercial Service: O'Reilly and Associates; Best Educational Service: Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming Using C++ (from MIT; discontinued); Best Entertainment Site: Sports Information Service (from MIT; discontinued); Best Professional Service OncoLink; Best Navigational Aid: WorldWideWebWorm (from U. Colorado; discontinued); Most Important Service Concept What's New on the WWW; Best Document Design Travels With Samantha; Best Use of Interaction: Xerox Map Server (screen print from site shown); Best Use of Multiple Media: Le Louvre (address changed; possibly discontinued); Most Technical Merit: Xerox Map Server (see above).

It looks like the skipped over 1995, but the 1996, 1997, and 1998 awards start showing some familiar names. It appears that the BOTW awards ran out of gas (or funding) after 1998.
posted by bragadocchio at 5:39 PM on December 27, 2001


Yahoo deserves to be on the list of "Outstanding Sellouts". I originally enjoyed the convenience the portal provided, but lately I've noticed more and more pop-ups(damn you, X10!), mandatory detours and diversions to ad-filled pages before I can reach my intended destination(claiming they are now an "advertising-driven service"), less and less free services, more and more tricks like "Congratulations! Your website is so popular we had to shut it down because we just realized that we can! Please pay us money for a Real Website!"

Yeah, maybe Yahoo was innovative at one point, but these days they're fading fast because they've forgotten the whole point of their existence, i.e. convenience, in favor of their new mantra: revenue by any means, even if it costs them their market. Talk about killing the goose that laid the golden eggs...
posted by Poagao at 6:20 PM on December 27, 2001


MapQuest International is better than MultiMap IMO .. but $$ map software with GPS on a laptop with real-time "you-are-here" (YAH), databases of stores etc.. ("show me all Starbucks") is the way to go.
posted by stbalbach at 7:36 PM on December 27, 2001


I don't know why yahoo is getting so much criticism, they're always adopting to the best search engines out there [currently the mighty google], offer great free services like TV and movie listings, it acst as a reuters/AP outlet, etc.

If anything shouldn't be on that list its amazon. They have yet to turn a profit and their auto-recommendations are just laughable. If yahoo goes I have to find various outlets to get the services I once had usually with more ads like tvguide's listings. If amazon goes a lot of people will be forced to shop at better retailiers.
posted by skallas at 8:24 PM on December 27, 2001


Yeah I agree with skallas, the ap/reuters mirror is a pretty handy tool. But that's about all they have running for them...well maybe their chat, but even that is dying slowly to the likes of MSN and PalTalk (voice chat with people from all over the world, over a million members I think, oh and it's free).
posted by ( . )( . ) at 8:38 PM on December 27, 2001


sincere congrats to the blogger people!
posted by chrismc at 10:48 PM on December 27, 2001


thanks again manero for that great linkage! (http://web.archive.org)
posted by thadk at 11:43 PM on December 27, 2001


I use Google, Amazon (also IMDB), and MapQuest (U.S. version of Multimap) constantly, also like to window shop eBay now and then, and should check out Project Gutenberg more often. Never Yahoo or Blogger. When you add up hours spent, however, I'm online at MeFit most of the time.

Isn't mathowie one of the seven wonders of the web?
posted by LeLiLo at 12:34 AM on December 28, 2001


MeFit? Whatever it's called . . . . (Here it's called 3:35 a.m.)
posted by LeLiLo at 12:35 AM on December 28, 2001


If anything shouldn't be on that list its amazon. They have yet to turn a profit and their auto-recommendations are just laughable.

You must use a different Amazon than I do, is all I've got to say. Amazon's shopping experience is probably the best on the Web right now, and they keep adding things to it. Name another Web bookstore that lets you actually look inside so many books, for instance. More to the point, all their features are integrated into the site so well that even my mom can use it. If it weren't for the "I live in the same state as Jeff Bezos" surcharge (WA sales tax), which begins to make their prices a little unreasonable, I would order nowhere else. Every other online store seems to be playing catchup to Amazon, and they have been for the last five years.

Whether they have turned a profit is of course completely irrelevant to whether their site is any good. I get the impression that they could turn a profit pretty much any time they like just by ceasing to develop their infrastructure for a quarter or two.

If amazon goes a lot of people will be forced to shop at better retailiers.

Such as...? If there's something out there better than Amazon, I've certainly never seen it. You want to see how good they are? Look up a book at Amazon.co.uk and notice how well it's been localized (er, I guess that should be "localised"). "Availability: Usually dispatched within 24 hours." Dispatched? Are Britons too dumb to understand "Usually ships within 24 hours" like it says on the US version of the site? Of course not, but little touches like that are what make Amazon.co.uk seem more comfortable to the natives. Point is, Bezos and company really pay attention to the details.
posted by kindall at 6:20 AM on December 28, 2001


whoops "it's content" should read "it's web content"...must stop drinking and posting...

Actually, it should read "its web content"...
posted by Ben Grimm at 6:26 AM on December 28, 2001


Glad I wasn't the only one that noticed that gaff.
posted by ( . )( . ) at 6:30 AM on December 28, 2001


Um, those are supposed to be eyes??
posted by jennak at 7:49 AM on December 28, 2001


must stop drinking and posting...

A breathalyzer hooked up to the SEND button would be a valuable (and embarrassment saving) addition!
posted by HTuttle at 7:50 AM on December 28, 2001


jonmc, The Onion was a print publication before it went online. I think The Guardian article was trying to find examples of sites which are possible only because of the web. While The Onion's satire has been eye-opening at times, it makes no great advances from its print edition.

And, I agree with Kindall -- Amazon is constantly thinking up new ways to use the power of the web. My wife is a manager of a Barnes & Noble, so I don't buy anything there (sorry, Mr. Bezos), but the use of technology in the service of commerce is unmatched.
posted by eptitude at 9:29 AM on December 28, 2001


<sarcasm level="highest">

jennak, well what did you think they were? Human female breasts? What a sexist thing to think, OMG, don't talk to me.

</sarcasm>
posted by ( . )( . ) at 9:30 AM on December 28, 2001


Ass.
posted by rodii at 9:31 AM on December 28, 2001


What I think is amazing is that somebody thinks The Guardian is a reputable source of information ... I'd let the inet community decide what's hot what's not. It's simply much more accurate

While I wouldn't stand by the Guardian as a great source of net information, after reading this thread I wouldn't hold "the inet community" up as an exemplar of accuracy.
posted by fabius at 9:35 AM on December 28, 2001


Um, those are supposed to be eyes??

Whatever are you implying, Jenna? Men everywhere are moved to appreciate the perfect roundness, fullness, and symmetry of a great pair of eyes. To suggest otherwise would be to suggest that there was some sort of preadolescent idiotic Porky's-level "humor" involved, and I'm sure nobody would do that.
posted by Skot at 9:39 AM on December 28, 2001


The story was written by Neil McIntosh, deputy editor of the Online section, and webmaster of Onlineblog.com (Thursdays in The Guardian). I assume the choices reflect his taste and usage.

I use Google many times a day; prefer bn.com to Amazon (no Washington State sales tax at bn); use Yahoo to see what's most popular among news items; shun EBay; will use Multimap now when puzzled by geography in English murder mysteries; salute Project Gutenberg's existence, but read books off-line; and try to remember to look at Blogger's Blog of the Week.
posted by Carol Anne at 9:57 AM on December 28, 2001


Skot are you implying that there is someone out there that's implying that those are not the perfect eyes that men from all over have come to appreciate but instead is a play on punctuation depicting otherwise*?

*Please bear with the clumsy English.

Note to self: stop reading 19th century mystery novels.
posted by ( . )( . ) at 10:04 AM on December 28, 2001


eptitude - I know that-

"is a great example of what the net can do for a heretofore small venture"

The point I was trying to make is that the Web was what transformed the Onion from a small midwestern tabloid to a full blown institution and that it's style and aesthetic helped define a lot of what's become the dominant web style.
posted by jonmc at 10:50 AM on December 28, 2001


jennak: i prefer to think of them as ass pimples
posted by particle at 11:01 AM on December 28, 2001


I'm quite happy about the choices...

*Google - First of all, I'm in love with Google from it's beggining (just having a search engine that actually applyed an 'AND' operator to all the words in my search, instead of the usual 'OR', was enough to hook me).

Second, they have such a clever engine that it corrects your search string (and in a polite way, too).

Third, usually the first hit brings the best answer. I had trouble installing Oracle 8i in my new P4 Win2K machine this afternoon. Searched for a clue in Oracle's technet and Microsoft's knowledge base and found zit. Google brought me the exact document to fix the problem.

Fourth, you can search html pages, pictures, PDFs (very usefull), catalogs and the usenet archives (I'm having such a great time).

Fifth, Google Toolbar - best add-in to Internet Explorer ever.

*Yahoo - I'm a big fan of it, for a long time. It's my home page. I have e-mail accounts, geocitie pages, briefcase accounts, mail groups and I love the news.

I like searching their directories, which seem to be better structured than any other search/directorie service. And their service is better with google engine. I don't mind getting some adds for it.

* Amazon - there's no better e-commerce website out there than amazon. When they suggest me books, usually they are right on target. I like the list services and the wishlist.

My very first experience buying from them was in 1998. I live in Brazil and I asked for surface shipping (3 months between shipping it and receiving it). When my package didn't show up, I humbly mailed them asking for some information on the package so I could try to tango with the brazilian postal services. Guess what? They sent me a new package, 21 days deliver. No charge. Yep, they didn't make any profit that day, but from that time on, I'm still a loyal buyer.

* Blogger - this revolutionary service allows anyone to create web content without having to worry about technical issues. Sure, there's a lot of crap being written. But I have some 10 favorite blogs that I read daily (including MeFi - which I found in one of the technical articles from Blogger). And my life is better.

I think they could have added services like MeFi and AllMusic. There are some other personal favorites like Merrian-Webster, but all in all, it's a good list.
posted by rexgregbr at 12:52 PM on December 28, 2001


Last two lines of the paragraph on Google: And the more specific you are in describing what you want, the less superfluous will be the material you receive. It is the solution to overload, not the problem. And the downside to Google? I'll need notice of that question.

Someone wanna explain to a Yank the etymology behind the phrase "I'll need notice of that question?" I can figure out what it means from context, but what "notice" is it referring to? Just curious.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 1:01 PM on December 28, 2001


"I'll need notice of that question?"
Shadowkeeper, I think it means you'll have to give him/her the question in advance because it's a tough one and needs more preparation, as in "two weeks notice is required before...". That's my take.
posted by Zootoon at 1:19 PM on December 28, 2001


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