Controversy has erupted this week when news emerged that the Steve Scalise, majority whip of US House of Representatives — the chamber’s third highest post — spoke to a white supremacist group in 2002. Part of Scalise’s excuse? Google wasn’t available to research groups in 2002.
From what Scalise told the New Orleans Times Picayune yesterday:
There is a lot more vetting that goes into setting my appointments. I have a scheduler. I didn’t have a scheduler back then. I was without the advantages of a tool like Google. It’s nice to have those. Those tools weren’t available back then.
That’s simply wrong. I can’t speak as an expert on politics. But as an expert on search engines, who has covered the space for nearly 20 years — from before Google itself even existed — yes, Google was available as a tool in 2002.
Google: Founded 1998
In 2002, Google was four years old. That’s pretty easy for anyone today to figure out. All you have to do is use that widely available search tool called Google and ask “when did Google start,” and you get its official founding date at the top:
Actually, Google itself likes to move its exact birthday around within the month of September 1998 — but the year has always stayed the same. And by 2002, Google was well established as a leading search engine. Nor was it alone.
Google & Others Popular In 2002
comScore regularly tracks the most popular search engines. Back in 2002, comScore was known as Jupiter Media Metrix. Here’s the ranking of top search sites as of March 2002, from data given to me directly around that time:
As can be seen, Google was a popular search engine in 2002 — …read more