A few weeks ago I was speaking with a colleague about how people manage their bookmarks. I mentioned that for several years my homepage was set to a little application that I wrote that kept track of my bookmarks and sorted them by those I clicked on most frequently. A simple idea, but one that was useful enough to use every time I opened a browser.
Sure enough, I dug around and found a copy of my old personal start page, still loaded with all of the historical data. Look at this screenshot:
Judging by some of the links (RedHat 7.1 and 7.2, and a few of the company hompages), I'd say that I ran this from around 1999 through 2001. Thus I have a two-year snapshot of my aggregate browsing history. The bookmark list itself (an XML file), was edited by hand, so items were only added when I thought that I used them enough to merit the effort.
The top three links? My Yahoo!, Slashdot, and Drudge.
Amazingly, a search engine doesn't even appear until the 20th link or so. That's an indicator of the state of web search back in 2001. And surfing itself was different then, as my browser of choice, presumably Netscape, didn't have tabbed browsing, so a single click was a larger investment of time.
Today, my browser homepage is a9.com. Most of my daily bookmarks live in my Firefox toolbar, and the rest live in del.icio.us. I use My Bloglines to read some 100-odd sites a day, including Slashdot. I still click over to Drudge and My Yahoo every few hours, though.
An open question for the comments -- what were your top three most-viewed clicks in 2000? What was your homepage? Are they different now?
(This post is also a prelude. As soon as I work out a few cross-browser kinks over the next several days, I will introduce a new little application on unto.net for everyone to use.)