Missing the days of yore? Or, more specifically, the Internet days of yore? Miss no more, thanks to oldweb.today, which will satisfy your strange desire to revisit the early days of the Internet, when everything was uglier, slower, and generally worse. But hey, to each her own.
The brain child of developer Ilya Kreymer and media arts foundation Rhizome, the Web browser emulator takes you back to the Stone Age of the Web — otherwise known as the 1990s — evoking feelings of nostalgia, angst, and most importantly, pride at how far we’ve come in so little time. Simply enter the URL you’d like to visit, a past date, and you’ll be brought to the archived version closest to your request. Not only will you see what the page looked like, but you’ll also experience the page as it was meant to be experienced … several years ago.
Of course, while the aesthetics of pages past may seem a bit antiquated today, Rhizome points out that many of the design choices made in the ’90s and early 2000s were just as purposeful as those made today. “Today’s Web browsers want to be invisible, merging with the visual environment of the desktop in an effort to convince users to treat ‘the cloud’ as just an extension of their hard drive,” the foundation writes. “In the 1990s, browser design took nearly the opposite approach, using iconography associated with travel to convey the feeling of going on a journey.” Citing Netscape Navigator’s ship helm logo and Internet Explorer’s “around the world” approach, Rhizome notes, “This imagery reinforced the idea that the Web was a very different kind of space from the ‘real world,’ one where the usual laws and taxes shouldn’t apply.”
Now, differentiating between on- and offline experiences sometimes feels next to impossible.
So take a trip down memory lane and visit “the early Web in numerous, carefully staged environments.” I promise you won’t regret it.