As Google celebrates its 15th birthday, the web giant has become a byword for information retrieval.
But if you put Jonathon Fletcher’s name into a Google search, none of the immediate results hint to the role he played in the development of the world wide web.
There is certainly nothing that credits him as the father of the modern search engine.
Yet 20 years ago, in a computer lab at the University of Stirling in Scotland, Mr Fletcher invented the world’s first web-crawling search engine - the very technology that powers Google, Bing, Yahoo and all the major search tools on the web today.
Mr Fletcher called his invention JumpStation. He put together an index of pages which could then be searched by a web crawler, essentially an automated process that visits, and indexes, every link on every web page it comes across. The process continues until the crawler runs out of things to visit.
Ten days later, on 21 December 1993, JumpStation ran out of things to visit. It had indexed 25,000 pages.
To date, Google has indexed over a trillion pages.
“In my opinion, the web isn’t going to last forever,” he told the audience. “But the problem of finding information is.”
“The desire to search through content and find information is independent of the medium.”
The current medium is making a lot of money for those who followed him, but the Scarborough-born pioneer has no regrets.
“My parents are proud of me, my wife is proud of me, my children are proud of me, and that’s worth quite a lot to me, so I’m quite happy.”
Latest in long line of Brit inventors who’ve made no money from their inventions.