In the early days of the Internet Yahoo! ruled, but it wasn’t a search engine. Yahoo! was a directory of sites. That wasn’t a scalable concept. As the net grew Yahoo! became cumbersome.
During the spring of 1995, scientists at Digital Equipment Corporation’s Research lab in Palo Alto, CA, devised a way to store every word of every HTML page on the Internet in a fast, searchable index. This led to AltaVista’s development of the first searchable, full-text database on the World Wide Web.
Though AltaVista’s website claims it “continues to advance Internet search with new technologies and features designed to improve the search experience for consumers,” its “Press Room” hasn’t issued a release since 2003, a year after it was acquired by Yahoo!.
When I read about AltaVista’s demise tonight my first thought was, “It’s still around?” I haven’t hit it in years.
It’s still sad.
AltaVista ruled when the Internet was young and mainly non-commercial. It was built for nerds by nerds. Now it’s a footnote.
It’s ironic you’ll only be able to find out about AltaVista by first searching Google or one of the other search engines that killed it.