In honor of its 10th anniversary, Google is letting users search an old version of its index from 2001. Searching this index shows some interesting artifacts — sort of a lens into the past.

Silicon Alley Insider noted that searching the 2001 index for “iPhone” shows several results that refer to a product with the same name, but it was a desktop internet device made by Cisco that allows you to make phone calls, send/receive email, and access the Internet.

This got me wondering what other items would be interesting to review from 2001. I searched for Obama, Biden, McCain, and Palin, and I scanned the first 3 search result pages. The search results seem to reflect who these candidates were back in 2001 — and I’ve summarized the results below.

Barack Obama

  • a couple of senate pages“”:

  • a couple pages about him atHarvard
  • a link to www.obama2000.org (which is empty now)
  • a few articles about his campaign for senator
  • a few pages about teaching at University of Chicago Law School (including his bio and resume at the time)
  • and more of the above
  • Obama in 2001

Joe Biden

John McCain

Sarah Palin

  • There was nothing said about “Sarah Palin” (in quotes) — 0 search results.

  • When I search for her name without quotes around them (” “), the results included ancestry information, and a couple of pages mentioning Sarah Jessica Parker.