We’ve all heard of Yahoo! – back in the late 90s and early 00s, Yahoo was one of the biggest and most popular search facilities online, and even despite the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, it continued and continues to this day to be one of the key players in the online search market, as well as offering free email services, a comprehensive website directory and a question and answer service, aptly named Yahoo! Answers.
Have you, however, ever heard of Jerry’s guide to the World Wide Web? Well, if you haven’t, you have now, and if you’re wondering where we’re going with this, the answer’s simple – this was Yahoo’s name before it became Yahoo! A website that was a directory of other websites, Jerry’s Guide (aka David and Jerry’s Guide) to the World Wide Web was set up in January 1994 by Jerry Yang and David Filo, electrical engineering graduates from Stanford who realised early the power of the Internet and what it could mean for those searching online, and formed the directory to cater to user’s needs by listing other websites in a hierarchy. When it appeared obvious that the idea was a good one, they changed the name to Yahoo!, only two months after they had started in March 1994, and registered www.yahoo.com on January 18, 1995, a year nearly to the date they’d begun.
The name Yahoo! itself has often been coined to mean different things. The term “Yahoo” in itself means, “Yay”, “I’ve found it”, “yes”, and other positive terms – great for a facility online used by people find things. Various acronyms have also been accredited to the name, although the official acronym used by the founders is “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”. This refers to how the hierarchial Yahoo! Database was arranged at the time, and the terms “officious” and “oracle” referenced the office workers who would be using the website, and the fact the results rendered were the “source of truth and wisdom”, respectively.
In recent years, Yahoo has seen a decline since its’ heady days of owning the Internet, but is still particularly popular as a search engine and directory in the US. July 2013 saw Yahoo outperform Google in the number of searches performed where users clicked through to websites listed in its SERPs, the first time since 2011.