Google the term “inventor of search” and the world’s most popular search engine will, unexpectedly, fail you. Nowhere among the algorithmically organized results will you find the names of the two men, Charles Bourne and Leonard Chaitin, who, in the fall of 1963, sent the first known long-distance computer query — six years before Arpanet, the proto-internet, and long before the launch of the world-changing Google, 20 years old this month.
Bourne and Chaitin achieved their ahead-of-its-time breakthrough at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, California, with Air Force funding. But despite the success, the Air Force shut the project down: The world just wasn’t ready for this innovation and the experiment was forgotten. This is a fascinating read.