To arrive at this page, it’s most likely that you searched ‘Trustmarque’ into a web browser and clicked on this article. Of course, that took some form of search engine for you to do so, and for any of the other articles you might have read today. But where did this system that we take for granted begin? Has it simply existed since the dawn of the Internet?

You might be inclined to think that ‘Google Search’ began this now congested market. Whilst it may be one of the most popular search engines, it certainly wasn’t the first, nor was it the original format. In fact, the search engine was created before the Internet, at McGill University, Canada.

Cast your mind back to 1990. Considering the World Wide Web didn’t exist at the time, all files were kept in FTP archives, where users had to manually search for the software they were looking for in a series of folders. If they couldn’t find it, then the only way to access it was through word of mouth.

This is the problem that Alan Emtage, a postgraduate at the university during that year, decided to solve. With the help of fellow postgraduate Peter Deutsch, and Bill Heelan, who worked at the university at the time, he decided to create a piece of software called ‘Archie’. As students had to tediously search through data archives to find what they were looking for, the name was chosen by docking the V.

Essentially, what Archie did was act as a tool that filtered through the available files to match the users’ search queries and bring that information back. This concept then took off, with Emtage’s machine receiving half of Canada’s Internet traffic.

Much to their dismay, the trio didn’t patent the concept, and so this is where companies like Google and Bing began to develop the concept. Emtage himself is something of an unsung hero; search his name on, and you’ll find that he doesn’t even have his own page.

Still, the inventor takes pride in knowing that his creation grew on to become “the great grandfather of Google and all those other search engines”.