Sayonara Altavista! It was a pleasure to meet you! Next July 8th Altavista, the search engine company, will be history. We got the news with some nostalgia because the early days of the internet are gone. Once upon a time Altavista was the ultimate web search engine. Altavista, along with Google, Yahoo Search, Alltheweb and MSN, was one of the top five SEO (search engine optimization) in the web.
Altavista´s early days were successful and promising. Altavista was one of the most popular searches because you could find anything you were looking for whenever you wanted.
Digital Equipment Corporation´s network systems laboratory and Western Research Laboratory merge with the idea to create an innovative search engine able to provide a service for finding files and documents on the internet easier and faster.
The name was picked because it related to the surroundings of the company located in Palo Alto, California. Altavista was a breakthrough start-up company, providing a wide cover of webpages at the same time and it had an innovative search-running back-end on advance hardware.
Altavista was launched in 1995 as altavista.digital.com. It was an immediate success, reached 80 million hits per day. In 1996 Altavista became the exclusive search engine for Yahoo. In 1998, with fanfare, Altavista was bought by Compaq and the company redesigned it as a web portal, offering options, menu items, such as shopping and free email.
In 2003 Altavista was sold to Overture Services and in the same year Overture was taken over by Yahoo.
Altavista has had ups and downs and there were various attempts to shut it down since 2010 as Yahoo indicated.
Yahoo executive vice president for platforms Jay Rossiter commented that Altavista´s shut down is part of Yahoo´s effort to sharpen their focus in creating beautiful experiences and essential products to users, Rossiter said in his blog post.
Along with Altavista eleven more products will be part of Yahoo´s history, for example, Yahoo! Axis; Yahoo! BrowserPlus; Citizen Sports; Yahoo! WebPlayer; FoxyTunes; Yahoo! Rss alerts; Yahoo! Neighbors beta; Yahoo! Stars India; Yahoo! Downloads beta; Yahoo! Local API and Yahoo! Term extraction.
For a while Altavista promised a lot, it was a good product, perhaps better than any other searchers in the cyber space at the time. But Google´s arrival was a game changer; the company had bigger ambitions and began to steal away some Altavista users.
Now Yahoo will focus on Yahoo Search as its main searching tool. Altavista will be part of Yahoo´s history. It had already become irrelevant. For many, the biggest surprise about its shut down was that it was still alive.
By: Oskar Guzman. Mexico City