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Internet Time Machines

David Silversmith
David Silversmith

Considering that the Internet is been available to the general public for less than 20 years, it is amazing to see the number of sites that have sprung up to explore the history of the Internet.  From webpages to videos you can go back in time on the net.

If you are feeling nostalgic about cyberspace, you can turn back the clock with the YouTube Time Machine and the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. These sites let you explore the Internet and YouTube in specific from the perspective of time.

The Internet Archive Wayback Machine allows you to visit archived versions of Web sites. You simply type in a URL, select a date range, and then begin surfing an archived version of the Web. You can visit older versions of your favorite Web sites from 1999, 2001, 2007 and many dates along the way. You won't always get all of the pictures and text of the old website, but you’ll certainly get an idea of how the site looked in the past. The original idea for the Internet Archive Wayback Machine dates back to 1996 when the Internet Archive first began archiving pages on the Internet.

And while you are checking out the above YouTube video on the Wayback Machine, imagine what it would be like to look through YouTube in a linear time perspective. Justin Johnson has created the YouTube Time Machine which is a site that groups YouTube clips by year and serves up the videos by year.

You simply click on a year, and the YouTube Time Machine plays a randomly selected video from that year.  You can then choose to see more videos form that year.  You can choose to narrow the selection and see a video that falls into one of seven categories--video games, television, commercials, current events, sports, movies, and music.

They have videos dating back to 1878 (though obviously the early stuff pre-dates the talkies) and the timeline extends out through the present.  

In another great example of the circular nature of the world you can actually watch a YouTube video talking about how to use the YouTube Time Machine to watch YouTube videos:

So if you have either grown tired of today's web or just have a yearning for those Internet days gone by, check out one of these time machines to remembers when web pages were just text and video was black and white.

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