AltaVista search engine will be shut down on 8th July 2013. AltaVista was one of the best search engines but the rising of Google Search completely brought down the popularity of AltaVista.
AltaVista was acquired by Yahoo in 2003. In 1995, when the AltaVista was launched, it featured a quick crawler that could crawl more number of web pages at that time. Its interface was neat and clean. However, the minimalistic interface was lost when the website metamorphosed into a web portal. Soon, the minimalistic interface was brought back when the firm again started focusing on web search.
AltaVista was the ruling search engine when Larry Page and Sergey Brin were working on Google Search. At that time there was other search engines as well such as Lycos, OpenText and InfoSeek but none were drawing millions of queries like AltaVista. People who used AltaVista know it very well that had to remember its advanced syntax to look for page titles and web addresses.
AltaVista also offered a free service called Bable Fish which could translate text and web pages into different languages. The service was launched by Digital Equipment Company (DEC). AltaVista used to receive 13 million queries each day whereas its competitors could only manage to salvage millions. From 1995 to 1998, AltaVista was the most preferred search engine.
Now, Google Search is undoubtedly the best search engine and Bing and Yahoo Search are way behind the leader. The fall of AltaVista was mainly because DEC and its succeeding owners did not have the vision as to how internet search could be beneficial for any business.
Between 1998 and 2003, AltaVista was purchased five times. When Yahoo purchased it, AltaVista was a defunct site. The site was first purchased by Compaq. Later on, Overture had purchased AltaVista and then in 2003 Yahoo had acquired Overture Services, Inc.
During that time, Google which was founded in 1997 was soon becoming the preferred search engine. In February 2001, Google’s market share was competitive compared to AltaVista’s market share. In the very next month, the market share of Google went past AltaVista. In December 2010, a Yahoo employee had leaked Yahoo is considering discontinuing the AltaVista search. In May 2011, Yahoo started shutting down AltaVista and it directed all the search results to Yahoo page.
If you now access the AltaVista URL, you will be directed search.yahoo.com. Google thwarted AltaVista just three year after its launch. Google has now established itself as a highly popular brand name. Everybody knows Google. AltaVista could have also achieved the same had its owners promoted it as a brand and monetized its core. However, sadly it did not happen.
In the recent years, there weren’t any users using AltaVista. It is quite logical for Yahoo to discontinue AltaVista. AltaVista now enters the history books while Google holds on to the numero uno search engine position. Have you used AltaVista? Let us know your experience as a tribute to the dying search engine.