How Google would have looked in 80’s in BBS style


Google, the search giant is the starting point to explore the web today.Though Google was founded in 1998, a look back in age by mass:werk led to the simulation of Google in BBS (Bullettin board system) style, with ASCII art based graphics and menu driven interface with character based input.They have won The lovie awards in 2012 and were the honoree of the 2013 Webby awards for this piece of work.

BBS was a way to run software on your computer on the terminal which allowed you to log in and to upload and download content and even chat with people logged in. It was a vintage UI before GUI were into common use. The connection needed a dialup modem that would make sqeaking and screeching sounds to bring you the content. The mass:werk have visualized how the search engine would have looked in those days; and as a result of it have developed a web based app demonstrating today’s Google in BBS style.

It all starts with the launch of Google from the command prompt like interface seen in those days which makes a call to the Google server and the content is loaded. The sound of modem included gives you a immersive experience(!) making you clear of how it all worked. Once loaded the search screen flies in from the bottom and all you need to do is choose an option with numbers 1-4 whose functions are mentioned and enter your query.


The simulated app uses the Google REST API to get the search results in real time and displays them with the custom tailored BBS interface. You are asked to make a key stroke to browse pages of the results and choose a number against each result to navigate to it. It is all functional and you can make any queries using it. IT has also tried out to simulate the image search and for each image result the team has tried a technique to render the images as ASCII art, which has worked for some images but failed for most of those high resolution images.

It is real fun to use your favourite search engine which is a part of daily life in oldie style. Spare some time to check out the awesome work. You will not regret having wasted time.

Visit the Google in BBS style.

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