Google has quietly dropped the Google Directory.
Now if you try to access it, you will get a message that Google has removed it because it is slow and not as fast as using Google search. Google writes:
Google Directory is no longer available.
We believe that Web Search is the fastest way to find the information you need on the web.
If you prefer to browse a directory of the web, visit the Open Directory Project at dmoz.org
The Google Directory was one of the first added links to Google.com. Former Googler, Douglas Edwards's recent book described the directory addition as one of the first easy ways for Google to add more services to their site. The founders didn't think it was useful to have a directory on the site back then, but if they can make the directory easier and better to search - well, then they decided to add it.
Now Google feels it is not needed and has completely removed it, telling people to go to the Open Directory Project directly.
Here is what you see now on the Google Directory:
Here is what was there yesterday:
We use to cover the directory often enough, tracking directory updates and such, but haven't done so in years.
One SEO said in a WebmasterWorld thread, "Never happy to lose a decent link."
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.