Do you want to see how a particular website looked like in the past? One month ago, 1 year ago, or even 10 years ago? Or do you want to be reminded about how your own website or homepage on the Internet looked like when you were just a freshman out of college?
Then use the Wayback Machine website/tool from the Internet Archive. Just type an Internet address like http://www.google.com, and click on “Take Me Back” button. The Wayback Machine will show you a timeline and a calendar of dates when that webpage was archived and saved. Click on any date to see how the website looked like on that specific day in history.
The Wayback Machine has over 150 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago. That’s over six petabytes of information (or six quadrillions of data bytes). Over half a million people use The Wayback Machine every day.
A very useful feature is the fact that the links on an archived page do not point to the original linked location (that may be offline or changed), but to other pages in the Internet Archive. This allows you to browse one or more linked websites as they appeared within a certain time period. Also, most images are also cached, so you can get a more accurate view of a website’s old look and feel.
The Wayback Machine can be used for a large variety of purposes: scholars and researchers can try to understand the interactions between people and events, customers can learn about the history of a company or service provider, businessmen can study their competitors’ history, employers can take a look at the student Web pages of their job applicants, patent searchers can verify prior art, designers can see the past look of the Internet.