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Goodbye, Google Directory

And another one bites the dust. (See Alas, poor learners . . .your Wonder Wheel is Gone!)

On Wednesday, the Unofficial news and tips about Google blog led me to the sad news that Google Directory [was] no longer available.

Now, some may think that Google’s second service–launched in 2000 after the search engine itself to compete with Yahoo Directory–might have been a search dinosaur, but I loved it.

I used it (along with IPL) to build pathfinders. My student used it to explore topics and navigate breadcrumbs and browse ideas in areas unfamiliar.

And sometimes kids need to browse.

Among the pages we will miss browsing most are the menus of social and political issues, the list of artists in all the various media, topic lists and people lists for periods in history, the directories of trade publications, the listings of newspapers published and broadcasts from around the world.

Yes, there are other sources for this content–most notably the Open Directory Project, upon which Google’s Directory was based.

But Google’s Directory was particularly handy if you were hanging out in Googleland anyway, and moving back and forth from browse to search, and it added its PageRank abilities to the mix.

I wish I had thought to take screenshots of these very useful pages, but all I can now find is a picture of the opening interface.

The post described the issue with directories in the face of an enormous web:

Directories were useful at that time because there weren’t too many high-quality sites and reviewers could keep up with the growth of the Web. Now that the Web has a lot more than a trillion pages, it’s impossible to maintain a directory, so algorithmic search engines are the only ones that can scale.

Google Directory has been irrelevant for many years and very few Google domains still included the service in the navigation bar. Last year, Google dropped the search feature and not many people noticed.

I did.  I missed the ability to easily move from Directory to Web search and back. also noticed and posted and shared before and after pictures in Google Drops Google Directory Search Option:



And so now I will guide the kiddos to the lovely Open Directory Project when the are brainstorming topics and looking for a hierarchical pictures of information.

Dinosaurs can be beautiful.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. I think that web directories nowadays are not what they used to be before. I am in this industry since 2002 and web directories were valuable before the 2007 (?) algo update when backlinks from non-relevant sources (especially paid ones) were kicked out of the ecuation. Many of my clients want their websites to be listed in DMOZ, Yahoo dir ($299/year), BOTW and maybe few others. Without some serious money to invest in marketing, manual editing and good service… there is useless to create a web directory. And useless for the submitter, too.

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