Saturday, October 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Hasta la vista AltaVista: A once mighty search engine bites the dust

Story Highlights
  • AltaVista will be no more as of next week.
  • It will perform its last search on July 7 and then users will be redirected to Yahoo’s main search engine.
  • AltaVista was one of the original, big search engines when it was launched in 1995.

AltaVista, a premier search engine before Google’s ascension, will be no more as of next week, according to its current owner, Yahoo.

And with it, will surely be buried a remnant of the early days of the World Wide Web of the 1990s. Yahoo said the last search AltaVista will perform is July 7. It will be virtually shuttered the following day and users will be redirected to Yahoo’s main search engine.

AltaVista was one of the original, big search engines. It was launched in 1995, before Google’s algorithm was a twinkle in a developer’s eye. Google didn’t catch up to AltaVista until 2001, when it began serving up more searches, according to searchenginewatch.com.

AltaVista’s downfall came with a series of ownership changes that started in 1998. It was so desirable, that both Overture and MSN once competed to buy it. But its fate was sealed when Yahoo bought Overture in 2003, and AltaVista was part of the deal.

AltaVista was created by the Palo Alto based Digital Equipment Corporation. It was ahead of competitors in the way it crawled and indexed the web, making it the first large-scale search engine used by the public in the early days of the web. It also was the first engine to offer a translation application, which was known as Babel Fish.

Frank Kummer PHILLY.COM
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