Excite started in 1993 and is one of the oldest search engines. It was developed by six Stanford students. The search engine is based on a statistical analysis of the word relationships, which should make the search more efficient. Already in the first year the technology is taken over by @Home. In 2001 InfoSpace acquired Excite and the former crawler-based search engine has since used the meta search technology used by all InfoSpace search engines.

Language Multilingual

Launched September, 1993
Closed No

Developer Architext team (Joe Kraus, Graham Spencer, Mark Van Haren, Ben Lutch, Martin Reinfried, and Ryan Mc Intyre)

Country of Origin US America

1993 - 2001 Excite (later Excite@Home)
2001 - 2004 Purchased by iwon, who changed their company name to Excite Network.
2004 - [...] Ask Jeeves (Started in 1996 as Ask Jeeves Inc., since 2006 IAC Search & Media, Inc.)
2005 - [...] IAC and Infospace (in 2005 there was a comprehensive agreement with InfoSpace regarding Excite, whereby Ask Jeeves and InfoSpace would share the marketing costs and revenue of the Excite web search feature.)

Topic Universal

Region No Limitation

Technical functionalities
Robot/Crawler based, algorithmic search
Meta search engine
Web Portal

Used SeEn Excite

Robot: ArchitextSpider (Source)

Older Version Internet Archive / WebCite

»Excite came from the project Architext, which was started by in February, 1993 by six Stanford undergrad students. They had the idea of using statistical analysis of word relationships to make searching more efficient. They were soon funded, and in mid 1993 they released copies of their search software for use on web sites.

Excite was bought by a broadband provider named @Home in January, 1999 for $6.5 billion, and was named Excite@Home. In October, 2001 Excite@Home filed for bankruptcy. InfoSpace bought Excite from bankruptcy court for $10 million.« Source

1995: »When THE HERRING showed up at the two-story Cupertino, CA tract house serving as the headquarters of Architext Software, Inc., our cover artist, Bart Nagel, had already moved most of the furniture out on the front lawn and was setting up for the cover shoot. "Maybe this will legitimize us a little in the neighborhood," puffed Architext president, Joe Kraus. "Everyone around here probably thinks we're a bunch of drug dealers, since we work all night, and people are constantly walking in and out of the house," he explained. After a long pause he added, "when Vinod began showing up in his Lamborghini, that really started raising eyebrows." The sports car Mr. Kraus was referring to belongs to Vinod Khosla, the general partner at VC powerhouse Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), who just sank almost $250,000 of his firm's money into the recent startup. "The guys at Architext have solved some very difficult math problems," Mr. Khosla told THE HERRING. These math problems were part of the breakthrough software development work being completed by a band of five burrito-eating computer science majors from Stanford University. The end-product appears to be a next generation search-and-retrieval text engine which is uniquely suited for the burgeoning online service market. "They have really made major breakthroughs in a number of areas that are important in the online world. Their software functions seamlessly in a highly distributed environment, allows concept-based queries, and performs automatic hypertext linking. It's really quite amazing," says Mr. Khosla.

Quite amazing indeed. The "official" story of Architext Software's founding, is that a group of friends, five computer hackers and one political science major, who first met each other in their freshman dorm at Stanford University, were sitting around one evening at Rosita's Taqueria in Redwood City, CA, discussing their after-graduation options. "We knew that we didn't want to work for any big company--we wanted to work together and do something entrepreneurial," said Mr. Kraus, as he sat talking to THE HERRING in the middle of the carpeted living room also known as the company's conference room. "I'm not sure whether or not it was at Rosita's that we actually developed the specific idea of what we wanted to do, but that's what we've been telling people," Mr. Kraus explains, with the true entrepreneur's twinkle in his eyes. [...]« Source

1996: »Based in Mountain View, CA, Excite ( is aleading branded media service for daily interaction among consumers,content providers and advertisers on the World Wide Web. The company's Internet navigational services, including Excite Search, NetDirectory, City.Net, Personal Excite and Regional Editions, are tailored to the ways consumers use and navigate the Web. Unlike other search services, Excite offers concept-based navigation, which eliminates reliance on keyword searching. Excite for Web Servers, a leading web-site development tool incorporating the company's next-generation navigation technology, supports all of the ways consumers look for information - including researching, browsing, exploring and discovering - not just searching. The company currently has strategic alliances with America Online,Inc., Tribune Media Services and CUC Investments, Inc. Excite currently has media-related agreements with the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Reuters and the Tribune Company, and is adding agreements regionally. The company was founded in June 1994 and is funded by a combination of corporate investment and venture capital. Investors include Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers; Institutional VenturePartners; Charles Rivers Ventures; and International Data Group.« Source

1996: »Excite's primary goal is to raise users' expectations of information retrieval. We believe that our information retrieval tools mark a significant advance in both sophistication and ease-of-use. Excite, formerly known as Architext, was founded in September 1993 by six Stanford University graduates who were tired of making keyword searches.« Source

1996: »Excite is acquiring the McKinley Group, maker of the poorly rated Magellan search site.« Source

Greg R. Notess (2000): »Excite is one of the smaller search engines. But it is very well known, provides sophisticated personalization, offers excellent relevant results for very popular queries, and its News Search provides important access to Web versions of newspapers, magazines, and news wires. Excite offers its own directory database, Excite Channels, along with a current news database (known as NewsTracker or Excite News) and several reference databases such as a dictionary, almanac, and encyclopedia.

It also has a small database of customized links for commonly requested search topics like companies, sports teams, and movies. These are displayed first, followed by the directory matches, and then the Web page matches from the Excite. Records from the News database or its Reference databases may also be displayed under separate headers. [...] The Excite database had been used in the past by Netscape and AOL Netfind. « Source

Greg R. Notess (June 29,2000): »Excite's reasons behind the changes with their Excite Precision Search launch seem in part inspired by Google and in part in direct contradiction to Google's recent moves. If nothing else, the contrast demonstrates the way in which the search engine industry is still young and trying to find its way. On June 19, 2000 Excite unveiled its new Excite Precision Search. It emphasizes improved relevance (due to a greater reliance on a weighted link analysis), the "clean and simple" focus, and a less cluttered results page. Excite removed its directory search results, news search results, the language limit option, and the "More like this" link for each result. Several of these moves have been interpreted as making Excite more similar to Google. [...]

According to Abbot Chambers, Senior Director of Search and Directory Products at Excite, their studies showed that users primarily wanted the search engine results. All of the directory hits, news headlines, suggested searches, more like this, etc. were seen as distracting. So the directory and news hits have been moved to separate tabs that require an additional click. In addition, searchers were not making use of More Like This and Suggested Searches, so those are gone.« Source

Greg R. Notess (2001): »Excite is no longer a separate search engine. As of Dec. 17, 2001, ceased searching its own database. It now gives Overture paid positioning results and then Inktomi results from Overture. The directory is now the Open Directory. The news search uses Dogpile's meta news search.« Source

Chris Sherman (Nov 28, 2001): »A U.S. Bankruptcy court has approved InfoSpace's $10 million bid for certain Excite@Home assets, including domain names, trademarks and user traffic associated with the Web site.

InfoSpace will power the search and directory components of the Excite web site, and will sell and/or license the portal's other components to iWon, a search engine best known for offering cash prizes to its users.

"Search and directory are at the core of InfoSpace's wireline business and Excite is a large opportunity to expose millions of users to our high-quality products," said York Baur, InfoSpace executive vice president, wireline and broadband, in a press release announcing the deal. "Excite users should be assured that will remain and will offer the same high quality experience and services that it always has."
Well, sort of.
For starters, search will no longer be powered by Excite's crawler. InfoSpace's Dogpile metasearch will replace Excite's crawler. Search results on both Excite and Dogpile will be the same. Directory results will likely be subtly different. Both Excite's and Dogpile's web directory listings are provided by LookSmart. But Dogpile also has a number of other "directories" powered by InfoSpace, including yellow pages, white pages and classifieds that will likely be incorporated into results. [...]« Source

Greg R. Notess (January 14, 2002): »Now all the results on Excite are just straight Overture paid-positioning results followed by hits from Inktomi after the end of the paid hits. This replaced the Dogpile results that Excite showed initially.« Source

Danny Sullivan (2004): Search Engine Timeline
»late 1995 - Excite launches.«
»Jul. 1996 - Excite purchases Magellan.«
»10/9/96 - 1st PC Computing Search Engine Challenge cancelled due to network problems. Excite and Infoseek play laser tag, instead. Excite wins.«
»Nov. 1996 - Excite acquires WebCrawler«
»3/03/97 - Excite partners with Quote.Com to deliver stock quotes«
»3/19/97 - Excite announces it will begin a channel-based format.«
»4/21/97 - Excite launches channels.«
»4/28/97 - Excite and PointCast strike deal for Excite to index PointCast's pushed content«
»5/09/97 - 2nd PC Computing Search Engine Challenge. HotBot won with 13 points. Excite came in a close second with 12 points, followed by AltaVista with 6 points and Infoseek with 4 points.«
»5/12/97 - Excite launches chat service, Excite PAL, or Personal Access List.«
»6/11/97 - Excite announced Intuit is to invest $39 million for a 19% share of the company. Join content plans are also announced.«
»6/16/97 - 6/30/97 - Excite-Intuit deal is approved and signed.WebCrawler relaunches with new look, the first major changes since Excite acquired the service.«
»6/30/97 - Excite and Ticketmaster teamed up, allowing users to find event listings and buy tickets from Excite's services: Excite, WebCrawler, Magellan and Citi.Net.«
»7/16/97 - Excite, Infoseek, Lycos and Yahoo -- along with CNET, announced they are going to work together to promote self-regulation of the Internet.«
»7/21/97 - Excite launches free email service, MailExcite.«
»7/21/97 - Excite announces that it will be producing the "International Netscape Guide by Excite" for Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Australia.«
»7/22/97 - Excite and Apple have partnered to provide Mac OS 8 users a personalized gateway to the Internet from the Mac desktop.«
»7/23/97 - Excite launches Japanese edition.«
»8/04/97 - Excite announced the hiring of James Desrosier as executive vice president, marketing. Previously, Desrosier was vice president, chief marketing officer at Infoseek.«
»8/12/97 - Excite and WebTV renew partnership.«
»9/02/97 - Excite launches new Shopping Channel on Sept. 2, along with an unprecedented guarantee to protect those making online purchases via the channel from credit card fraud.«
»9/10/97 - Excite and Preview Travel expanded their previous partnership into 5-year deal to jointly produce an online travel service. Preview guarantees Excite $15 million of the course of the agreement.«
»9/15/97 - WebCrawler debuts new channels, following the lead of sister search engine Excite. It also announces a 2-year partnership with bookseller Barnes & Noble. This follows a recent partnership formed in July between Excite and Amazon, Barnes & Noble's chief competitor.«
»10/9/97 - Excite announced new retail partnerships, including those with CDNow and Auto-By-Tel«
»10/15/97 - Excite launches Business & Investing Channel, in conjunction with Intuit.«
»10/16/97 - Excite signs an agreement to acquire NetBot, a shopping search service.«
»11/24/97 - Yahoo announces comparison shopping search service. Excite's similar service launches two days later, on Nov. 26.«
»Dec. 97 - WebCrawler stopped using retrieval technology from PLS and shifts over to using Excite's own technology.«
»2/11/98 - Excite launches "Netscape Guide by Excite UK," the third international guide that it has produced for Netscape. It maintains similar ones for Japan and Germany.«
»4/13/98 - Excite moves personalization to its home page, while Lycos launches revamped version of its personalized start page service.«
»5/04/98 - AT&T announces a partnership with Lycos to launch branded Internet access service. Similar agreements are announced on May 6 with Excite and May 8 with Infoseek.«
»5/04/98 - Excite announced $70 million deal to power Netscape search and produce content for Netscape's Netcenter.«
»8/17/98 - Excite debuts beta test of new community service, and Yahoo follows suit the next day. The idea behind both services is to allow users to create "communities" or identity areas that revolve around a particular topic. For example, a community might focus on a family, a business or even a television show.«
»Jan. 1999 - @Home, the broadband internet access provider, announces it will acquire Excite in a $6.7 billion stock swap. // Excite is sued by Estie Lauder for selling banner ads using Estie Lauder trademarks to a competing fragrance company.«
»May 1999 - Excite announces it will end its cobranding deal with Netscape.«
»Jun. 1999 - Inktomi is named to take over from Excite in powering AOL NetFind.«
»Aug. 1999 - Business Week reports that Yahoo has been in talks to purchase Excite@Home, while Excite@Home president George Bell flatly denies the rumor. Excite announces that it will unveil a large index in the 250 million page range later this month, combined with new intelligence intended to increase relevancy. Excite announces it is to begin using LookSmart information for its directory.« Source

Sullivan, Danny (Mar 3, 2003): »Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: ... Excite (1995; reborn 2001): Quickly gaining popularity after launching in late 1995, Excite crawled the web to gather listings. In 1996, the company bought two rivals, Magellan and WebCrawler, then itself was transformed via a merger into Excite@Home. Excite stopped gathering its own listings in December 2001, in the wake of its parent company's bankruptcy. Now a new "Excite Networks" company owns the Excite web site, while Infospace has a license to provide meta search results to Excite in perpetuity.« Source

Sherman, Chris (Mar 22, 2005): »Formerly a crawled-based search engine, Excite was acquired by InfoSpace in 2002 and uses the same underlying technology as the other InfoSpace meta search engines, but maintains its own portal features.« Source

wiseGEEK: »In 1993 a company founded by some Stanford students, named Excite, released what is arguably the first search engine to actually incorporate analysis of the page content. This initial offering was meant for searching within a site, however, not searching the web as a whole.« Source


Critical points

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Features & Functionality

»Verknüpfungen mit AND, OR, AND NOT, auch Klammern« Source


Example results page for "sand": Source

References & further Publications

Wikipedia (EN):
Wikipedia (Others):

Other Sources

History and Overview of Excite. Online available at SEO Logic. URL:
1995: THE HERRING Interview: Inside Architext URL:
Danny Sullivan (Jan 18, 1999): Excite Changes Add URL Page URL:
Greg R. Notess (2000): Review of Excite URL:
Greg R. Notess (2000): Excite vs. Google: Contradictory Directions URL:
Chris Sherman (Nov 28, 2001): Search Engine Spared from Extinction URL:
Danny Sullivan (2004): Search Engine Timeline URL:
Sullivan, Danny (Mar 3, 2003): Where Are They Now? Search Engines We've Known & Loved URL:
WAYNE E. HARDING (1997): How To Find It On The Net URL:
Press Releases URL:
Spiders Crawlers and Indexers! Excite Search Engine URL:
Excite and iWon: Winning Big... URL:

Created: 2013-01-15