I worked next to the guy who created Lycos. It was all the rage until AltaVista superceded it. Then AltaVista was surpassed by Google.
I do miss web directories (primarily Yahoo’s), which were useful when I knew what I was looking for but just didn’t know where it was. Search engines were good for when I didn’t even know what I was looking for but could toss a couple of keywords at the web.