Timeline of site search

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This timeline covers within-site or within-app search as used by websites ranging from large content repositories (such as Wikipedia, Reddit, or Imgur) to e-commerce websites (such as Amazon and Target) to two-sided markets (such as eBay and Airbnb) to social media sites. The timeline includes key conceptual developments, new tools and technologies, and services (both cloud services and installable softwares) that power the search experiences.

Full timeline

Year Month and date (if available) Event type Entity type Details
1999 Launch Search software Doug Cutting writes the first version of Lucene, a free and open-source information retrieval software library written in Java.[1] With its full text indexing and searching capability, Lucene would be useful for site search engines.
2004 Launch Search software Shay Banon releases Compass, a search tool based off of Lucene, and a precursor to Elasticsearch.[2]
2004 Launch Search software Solr is created by Yonik Seeley at CNET Networks as an in-house project for search on the company website. In January 2006, the code would be open-sourced and donated to the Apache Software Foundation.
2010 February Launch Search software Shay Banon releases the first version of Elasticsearch.[3] This is a successor to Compass, released in 2004, and is based on Lucene.
2012 Launch Search as a service Site search tool Swiftype is launched by former Scribd employees Matt Riley and Quin Hoxie. The founders claim that the service is better than Google Site Search because, rather than simply restricting Google results to a specific site, it builds a "PageRank"-like model that is specific to the site, and also allows publishers control through mechanisms like pinning and unpinning.[4]
2012 Launch Search as a service Algolia is founded by Nicolas Dessaigne and Julien Lemoine of Paris, France.[5] Its initial focus is to support offline search on mobile phones, but it grows to offer real-time search-as-a-service,[6] reaching 21 billion monthly searches in April 2017.[7]
2012 February 19 (initial incorporation) Launch Search software The company Elastic NV is founded in the Netherlands as Elasticsearch. Its initial mission is to support the Elasticsearch software released in 2010, but the company will eventually expand to provide and support other softwares and tools related to search.[8]
2014 January 6 Tool adoption by website Search software The Wikimedia Foundation announces that it will switch from its own homegrown version of Apache Lucene to Elasticsearch for the search engine powering its websites (including Wikipedia). The blog post explains reasons for the move.[9]
2015 October 6 Survey Product search A survey commissioned by BloomReach through Survata finds that, of 2000 United States consumers surveyed, 44% say they search for products directly within Amazon, compared to 34% who use top search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo![10][11]
2017 February 21 Shutdown Search as a service Google discontinues sales of Google Site Search, its offering for websites that offers a highly site-customized site search solution. The product is to be completely shut down by April 1, 2018, and new sales are to stop on April 1, 2017.[12][13][14]
2017 November 9 Merger Search as a service Elastic NV (the company behind Elasticsearch) acquires Swiftype.[15]
2018 Launch Third-party search tool for website Flixable, a website to help browse and search the Netflix catalog more effectively, launches.[16]


  1. KeywordAnalyzer "Better Search with Apache Lucene and Solr" (PDF). 19 November 2007. 
  2. Banon, Shay. "The Future of Compass & ElasticSearch". 
  3. Banon, Shay (2010-02-08). "You Know, for Search". Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. 
  4. Ha, Anthony (May 8, 2012). "Y Combinator-Backed Swiftype Builds Site Search That Doesn't Suck". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 28, 2017. 
  5. "About Algolia". Algolia. Retrieved May 28, 2017. 
  6. Dillet, Romain (January 21, 2014). "Algolia Provides 'Spotlight' For The Web With Its Turbocharged Real-Time Search API". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 28, 2017. 
  7. Dzielak, Josh (April 11, 2017). "How Algolia Reduces Latency For 21B Searches Per Month". Retrieved May 28, 2017. 
  8. "Elastic N.V. Form S-1 Registration Commission". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved July 13, 2019. 
  9. Horohoe, Chad (January 6, 2014). "Wikimedia moving to Elasticsearch". Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved July 13, 2019. 
  10. Moore, Sam (October 6, 2015). "Amazon Commands Nearly Half of Consumers' First Product Search". BloomReach. Retrieved May 28, 2017. 
  11. Charlton, Graham (September 27, 2016). "More online product searches start on Amazon than Google". SearchEngineWatch. Retrieved May 28, 2017. 
  12. Schwartz, Barry (February 21, 2017). "Google to sunset Google Site Search by end of 2017. Google is telling their Site Search customers they have to find a new internal search engine service.". Retrieved July 13, 2019. 
  13. "About Google Site Search". Retrieved May 28, 2017. 
  14. Utard, Sylvain (March 2, 2017). "Algolia: Picking up where Google Site Search left off". Algolia. Retrieved May 28, 2017. 
  15. "Elastic acquires search startup Swiftype". TechCrunch. November 11, 2017. Retrieved July 13, 2019. 
  16. De Elizabeth (January 20, 2018). "This Website Makes Finding Movies on Netflix Easier Than Ever. Meet Flixable: a directory for the streaming service.". Retrieved July 13, 2019.