On Monday Altavista was closed by Yahoo! and an era came to an end.
Back in the good old days in 1996 when the Internet was relatively new to the common person Altavista was the King of search engines. Altavista was launched in 1995 and 300 000 visitors on it’s first day. Two years later the search engine had over 80 million visits per day.
In February 2003 the search engine was acquired by Overture Services, Inc and later that year Overture itself got acquired by Yahoo!. In August 2004 Altavista started using Yahoo technology to deliver the search results to the visitors and the old faithful web spider stopped crawling the Internet for new and updated pages.
The close down is just the latest of several closures from Yahoo, which over the past year worked hard to remove or replace services no longer working or being popular enough. Some other services also closed down are Yahoo Neighbors, a tool to discuss with people within geographical areas, and Foxytunes, a media plugin which gives you control over your music player directly in the browser.
Today when you visit www.altavista.com you’re redirected to the Yahoo! website with a small text message that you should try Yahoo! instead. There are also no more references to the trademark Altavista on the site, only to Yahoo!. My personal opinion is that I like the new and very lean design of the Yahoo! page replacing Altavista compared to the yahoo.com page with everything from news, gossip, and everything else on that page.
Even if I haven’t used Altavista lately I have to say I will really miss the search engine, and especially the early version from 1998-9.
Some screenshots of Altavista over the years (courtesy Archive.org).