On the Internet there is an amazing amount of information. Truly, that is an understatement. According to Wikipedia, there were approximately 11.5 billion pages in January 2005. That’s enough to give anyone a headache. It’s surprising that it is possible to find anything in this massive data store. Luckily, Google and Yahoo exist!
The figure quoted only reflects an instant in time. The true measure of all web pages since the web was created would be quite a bit higher. The concept is that pages are added/changed/removed all the time. It is a lot more dynamic than trying to take a census, that is for sure. Even more revealing is that it would be impossible to know an accurate number for that would be like trying to count stars in a changing environment.
So this is where I finally get to a point. You were patient to get this far :). It is well know within Citrix (and I’m sure elsewhere) that it is possible to see web pages from the past, even if they are gone now. Thanks to the WaybackMachine, it is possible to time travel to a previous era in the web for any given URL. You would think this would be fairly boring but in reality it is like capturing the elements of change through a company’s digital image on the web.
To get a sense of it, try looking at any of the older Citrix webpages from the past. My favorite is the oldest one from December 1996. In the oldest days of Citrix web pages, Tom Pierce would change the motif based on the seasons or holidays. He would structure the site in such a way that he could replace certain pictures with others to reflect the mood of the times. In this case Wayback has captured the web site during winter.
The lights come from the Wayback capture. Obviously you can try different dates and even different companies. It is quite nostalgic to do this really. There are bits of interesting history preserved in this archives. It is a bit like mining amber with the hopes of finding some kind of historic DNA.
Probably the best part is that the archives don’t lie. The content might have misled at the time (perhaps) but no one has altered the content since then. That makes it a bit like opening tombs to discover artifacts from a previous era.
As my wife would tell you, I love analogies. Just to make sure I have satisfied my daily quota, I included two for your consumption.
I invite you to try the WaybackMachine and find out how it is possible to bring back dead web sites with no effort on your part. Good luck and enjoy!