GIFs may be hot today and some people may even think that they are a relatively new thing on the internet. If you’re an internet users of a certain age, though, chances are you were already using GIFs to spice up your cool GeoCities or Tripod pages with a few spinning arrows and flashing “under construction” signs back in the mid-90s. To celebrate its 20th birthday, the Internet Archive has now launched GifCities, a search engine that lets you relive those early days of the internet and search for those vintage GIFs that adorned virtually any website in 1996.
Why were GIFs so popular back then? You have to remember, this was the age of the <blink> tag and using GIFs and blinking text was pretty much the only way to make your sites feel alive. Those early sites weren’t exactly one-page web apps after all, and it wasn’t until the late-90s that Ajax was even a thing. Dancing hamsters was pretty much as good as it got.
At the height of its success, GeoCities hosted over 38 million pages. Yahoo acquired it in 1999 and then shut it down in 2009. The Internet Archive archived most of GeoCities’ old content before it disappeared, including the plethora of GIFs on the site. In total, GifCities indexes 1.6 million GIFs and every image links back to the original GeoCities page. The team behind the project did its best to use the original file names and directory paths to make them searchable.
So if you have a strong urge to use some classic GIFs to spice up your Twitter posts or simply want to relive your youth, head to GifCities and give it a spin.
(via: Boing Boing)