Early online journalists used an Internet search tool called Archie,
which was released on September 10, 1990.
Here’s a screen shot of a Web-based Archie search engine. And here is a link to an archival version posted by the University of Warsaw.
“Originally, the Internet was nothing but a compendium of File
Transfer Protocol (FTP) sites that users could peruse in an attempt to
find specific communal files. As the list of web servers joining the
Internet grew, the World Wide Web became the interface of choice for
accessing information on the Internet. Naturally, the need for finding
and organizing the geographically dispersed data files developed.
In the early 1990s, search engines spawned from users’ needs to
readily navigate the files on the web servers that made up the
Archie became the first index that attempted to organize this content.
Gopher made the database searchable.”
— “Where’s the Search?“
Search Engine Watch, January 16, 2014
“The first search engine was developed as a school project by Alan
Emtage, a student at McGill University in Montreal. Back in 1990, Alan
created Archie, an index (or archives) of computer files stored on
anonymous FTP web sites in a given network of computers (“Archie”
rather than “Archives” fit name length parameters – thus it became the
name of the first search engine). In 1991, Mark McCahill, a student at
the University of Minnesota, effectively used a hypertext paradigm to
create Gopher, which also searched for plain text references in files.
Archie and Gopher’s searchable database of websites did not have
natural language keyword capabilities used in modern search engines.
Rather, in 1993 the graphical Mosaic web browser improved upon
Gopher’s primarily text-based interface. About the same time, Matthew
Gray developed Wandex, the first search engine in the form that we
know search engines today. Wandex’s technology was the first to crawl
the web indexing and searching the catalog of indexed pages on the
web. Another significant development in search engines came in 1994
when WebCrawler’s search engine began indexing the full text of web
sites instead of just web page titles.”
Video: “Searching the Internet – FTP Anarchie | The Internet Revealed (1995)”
And here’s a screen shot of an early text-based Internet Archie search.