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Origins and Popularity of AltaVista
– AltaVista was created by researchers at Digital Equipment Corporations Network Systems Laboratory and Western Research Laboratory.
– The original idea was conceived by Paul Flaherty.
– Louis Monier and Michael Burrows wrote the Web crawler and indexer, respectively.
– The name AltaVista was chosen in relation to the surroundings of their company at Palo Alto, California.
– AltaVista publicly launched as an Internet search engine on December 15, 1995.
– AltaVista was the first searchable, full-text database on the World Wide Web with a simple interface.
– It used a fast, multi-threaded crawler (Scooter) and had an efficient back-end search.
– AltaVista’s site became one of the top destinations on the Web.
– In 1997, it earned US$50 million in sponsorship revenue.
– AltaVista was the most favored search engine used by professional researchers in February 1998.

Business Transactions of AltaVista
– In 1996, AltaVista became the exclusive provider of search results for Yahoo!.
– In 1999, Compaq redesigned AltaVista as a Web portal.
– AltaVista gradually shed its portal features and refocused on search.
– In February 2003, AltaVista was bought by Overture Services, Inc. for $140 million.
– In July 2003, Overture was taken over by Yahoo!.

Free Services offered by AltaVista
– AltaVista provided Babel Fish, a Web-based machine translation application.
– It also provided a free email service with 200,000 active registered email accounts.
– Babel Fish was superseded by Yahoo! Babel Fish and now redirects to Bing’s translation service.
– The email service shut down in March 2002, with domestic US accounts closed and others sold to
– AltaVista implemented the first practical CAPTCHA schemes to fight against malicious internet bots.

Acquisition and Decline of AltaVista
– AltaVista was acquired by CMGI in 1999.
– It canceled its proposed IPO in 2001.
– AltaVista underwent a makeover in 2002.
– Overture Services acquired AltaVista in 2003.
Yahoo! acquired Overture Services, including AltaVista.

Demise and Legacy of AltaVista
– AltaVista’s popularity declined with the rise of Google.
Yahoo! announced the closure of AltaVista in 2013.
– AltaVista was shut down on July 8, 2013.
– AltaVista’s closure marked the end of an era in search engines.
– AltaVista paved the way for modern search engines.
– Its advanced search features influenced future search engines.
– AltaVista’s Babel Fish translation service inspired other translation tools.
– The demise of AltaVista highlighted the competitive nature of the search engine industry.
– AltaVista remains a nostalgic memory for early internet users.

AltaVista (Wikipedia)

AltaVista was a Web search engine established in 1995. It became one of the most-used early search engines, but lost ground to Google and was purchased by Yahoo! in 2003, which retained the brand, but based all AltaVista searches on its own search engine. On July 8, 2013, the service was shut down by Yahoo!, and since then the domain has redirected to Yahoo!'s own search site.

Top: 2002–2013 AltaVista logo
Bottom: The AltaVista web portal in 1999
Type of site
Search engine
Available inMultilingual
Founded1995; 29 years ago (1995)
Key peopleIlene H. Lang, Paul Flaherty, Louis Monier, Michael Burrows, Jeffrey Black
ParentDigital Equipment Corporation (1998)
Overture Services (2003)
Yahoo! (2003–2013)
Yahoo! Inc. (2017–present)
LaunchedDecember 15, 1995; 28 years ago (1995-12-15)
Current statusDefunct (July 8, 2013 (2013-07-08))
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