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McGill Student Alan Emtage Invents Archie, the World's First Search Engine

STORY BY: Adrienne Piggott
YEAR: 1989
LOCATION: Montreal, QC

Adrienne shares a story that Canadian history often forgets. In 1989, a student named Alan Emtage was working in McGill University's School of Computer Science. Alan decided that his job would be much easier if he could search all records on the internet. He developed what became the prototype for the search engine, called "Archie". Archie eventually became the kernel for every search engine you see on the market today. "So if you're able to Google anything, it's thanks to Alan Emtage".

Additional information: "Emtage worked as a systems administrator at McGill University's School of Computer Science. One of his jobs was to help students and faculty find software, which was held in FTP archives. Because he was lazy, Emtage says in a video interview with The Huffington Post, he created a program to automate the process, and let people log on and search for themselves. He named it Archie, as a play on the word "archive." Because no one was making money from the Internet at the time, Emtage says, he didn't patent any of the original ideas and techniques that search engines like Google and Bing use today. "I didn't make any money off of it, but I wouldn't change anything," Emtage says."(source:

Also: "On September 18, 2017 Emtage was inducted as an Innovator by the Internet Society into the Internet Hall of Fame" (wikipedia)

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