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Yahoo Puts AltaVista To Death

timothy posted about a year ago | from the pour-your-electronic-version-of-a-40 dept.

The Internet 176

An anonymous reader writes "Remember AltaVista from the late '90s? Yahoo is finally pulling life support and letting Altavista die a noble death after over 15 years of hard service." You can only take so many years of being a running gag.

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Obligatory (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44139669)

I won't believe it until Netcraft confirms it

Re:Obligatory (5, Funny)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44140207)

So let me get this straight, Yahoo owns Altavista and uses Bing for a back end, took down Altavista only to put it back up with a yahoo back end, that is really being back ended by Bing?

Damn no wonder they pulled the plug, hell the ping times must have been awful!

Re:Obligatory (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year ago | (#44140537)

It sort of makes sense because windows is basically VMS.

Re:Obligatory (2)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year ago | (#44140729)

Looks like they can already confirm the death of TFA's bandwidth allotment.
Any "life support" from Yahoo so we can read it?

AltaVista (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44139679)

AltaVista still exists?

Re:AltaVista (5, Insightful)

bonehead (6382) | about a year ago | (#44139781)

Yeah, but it's not what it used to be.

Back in the day, it was the best search engine out there. Used it dozens of times every day. Granted, that was back when "www.hp.com" was an invalid URL and you had to use "www.hp.boise.com" to get a printer driver, but still....

Can't necessarily say I''m "sad" to see them go, but it does raise a little pang of nostalgia.....

Re:AltaVista (4, Interesting)

Creepy (93888) | about a year ago | (#44139853)

Yeah - loved it in the early days, but Google just nuked it as far as speed of search results and page load time went, and then it went the way of the dodo. One of the things they did far better than Google for a long time was translate. Google's first few passes at it produced some pretty horrible translations and lacked much of an idiom database, something they've vastly improved since (milchgesicht comes out 'baby face' now, not 'milk face' when translated from German, for instance, and Altavista's babelfish was one of the few that got it correct for a long time).

Re:AltaVista (4, Informative)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year ago | (#44140085)

Ah, the original babelfish link, http://babelfish.altavista.com./ [babelfish.altavista.com] I used it long after I started using Google for searches. Agreed, the translations were head and shoulders above everybody else.

Re:AltaVista (5, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a year ago | (#44140189)

I stopped using Altavista when they nuked the "NEAR" keyword.

Re:AltaVista (4, Interesting)

GerryHattrick (1037764) | about a year ago | (#44140455)

Astonishing that they killed a respected (if unserviced) Brand like 'Altavista', and went on using a stupid (if Swiftean) word like 'Yahoo'. So it's not just Microsoft and HP that can get global marketing completely wrong.

Re:AltaVista (3, Insightful)

pegdhcp (1158827) | about a year ago | (#44140507)

Do you remember DEC? If they could see the potential in search engine market, they would end up buying Compaq and HP, with the head start they have. For the sake of fairness, I do not think nobody could see search services as a major product before Google showed us.

Re: AltaVista (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140483)

Transnations at Google suck big time still. The spellchecker for chrome does to.

Re:AltaVista (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140665)

Yeah ... Alta Vista was the fastest most accurate search engine by a mile when it first appeared - mainly because they installed server swith massive amounts of RAM ... for the time .. that meant all search and sort operations were memory based. Then Yahoo appeared (and they did a lot of their indexing manually), and then Google got its act together ... and Alta Vista started being stymied by the sheer size of the Web it was trying to index.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Re:AltaVista (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44139875)

It's already gone- altavista.digital.com doesn't open!

Re:AltaVista (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44139999)

You can still use Webcrawler. I went from Webcrawler to AltaVista to HotBot to Google to Bing and finally to DuckDuckGo.

Re:AltaVista (1)

Cito (1725214) | about a year ago | (#44140097)

My first favorite well after using Gopher, Archie, and such

but when web got popular

was Webcrawler and Lycos I occasionally used AltaVista

but Webcrawler was the fastest simplest design... I swear google stole the minimalist design from Webcrawler...All Webcrawler had was a logo and the search bar that was it, no news, no ads, nothing.

it was awesome

Re:AltaVista (-1, Troll)

PrimeNumber (136578) | about a year ago | (#44140441)

I heard Google also stole the pagerank technique from another search engine then wrote the paper to "look good" and have credibility. FFS Google has been caught lying so many times it baffles me why people still fall for their good guy, do no evil horseshit.

Re:AltaVista (3, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44140669)

I've heard Larry Page eats babies and drinks the blood of castrated goats. It must be true because Google lies so much.

Re:AltaVista (3, Funny)

Keen Anthony (762006) | about a year ago | (#44140743)

Actually, that is true. I found it through one of the expert guides at The Mining Company.

Re:AltaVista (3, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44140013)

It still seems so recent that I overheard someone say they were going to "have to search for that on google" and thinking "What, is that like altavista?"

Re:AltaVista (4, Insightful)

bonehead (6382) | about a year ago | (#44140059)

Heh... Yeah...

Back when I was still using altavista, I heard something about a search engine called "google" here on slashdot. People seemed to like it, but I couldn't figure out why. Lots of people raved about how cool their "simple" page was, but I didn't think that was a big deal. Tried google once in the beginning, wasn't impressed with the search results, and kept going with altavista.

Was probably a little over a year later I was looking for something, altavista wasn't finding it, so out of desperation I figured I'd give this "google" thing a try. The exact thing I was looking for was the first result. Never used altavista again.

By the way. I never did buy into that whole "Don't be evil" crap. I wasn't born yesterday.

Re:AltaVista (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44140109)

Ever tried dogpile.com?

Re:AltaVista (4, Informative)

VanGarrett (1269030) | about a year ago | (#44140405)

What really got me in to Google was how light their search page was. It had one, small graphic, and the rest was just a precise bit of HTML. In those days, the best I could do was a 26.4Kbps dial-up connection, which made Google an outstanding choice over Yahoo! and Dogpile, which had been frustrating me with all the crap that was necessary to load before the page was useful. It really made a huge difference, and I'm thinking that's more significantly responsible for their initial success than even the quality of their search results.

Re:AltaVista (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140501)

damn you just made me feel old with a fucking granddad like search engine.story. go away death im not ready for you yet!

Re:AltaVista (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140761)

I remember first using the internet and instantly being frustrated trying to find things by guessing what the URL was (what ever a URLS was). I was too nervous to look at the kids computers next to me to see how they were using the web browser. I pretty much invented google in my head, I got as far as Kramer with his Levels.

Re:AltaVista (1)

jonwil (467024) | about a year ago | (#44140139)

I mostly remember AltaVista because for many years (before Google Translate showed up) the AltaVista translator was the best and easiest way to translate foreign language text into English.

Re:AltaVista (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140409)

It does. AltaVista ROCKED in its day. Of course the same could be said about Wordperfect and Lotus 123 too, but who remembers those anymore. :(

Re:AltaVista (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140681)

How many times I read the prompt "What to do with all those apples..."

Re:AltaVista (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year ago | (#44140739)

Can't necessarily say I''m "sad" to see them go, but it does raise a little ping of nostalgia.....

FTFY.

Re:AltaVista (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#44140667)

You'll have to pry Archie and Veronica out of my cold dead hands...
What do you mean gopher is not working?

Re:AltaVista (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140737)

if u ommitted the question mark I could have modded you up informative.

at least we still have Dogpile and Ask Jeeves (5, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44139725)

You'll never make me use Google!

Re:at least we still have Dogpile and Ask Jeeves (2)

bonehead (6382) | about a year ago | (#44139795)

We have ways!!!!

Re:at least we still have Dogpile and Ask Jeeves (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year ago | (#44139923)

its no longer ask jeeves it just ask now and isn't that good compared to google in my humble opinion.

Re:at least we still have Dogpile and Ask Jeeves (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44140305)

Oddly the UK version [ask.com] still uses the Ask Jeeves branding, though I think it's not actually different.

Re:at least we still have Dogpile and Ask Jeeves (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140337)

That's probably because there are more people named "Jeeves" in the UK.

Re:at least we still have Dogpile and Ask Jeeves (4, Funny)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#44140061)

Don't forget ask.com which is automatically installed with every Java update. If oracle supports it, and it works well with IE, it must be good.

Excite is still around (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140105)

With a full-blown Web Portal to boot!

Re: Excite is still around (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140295)

Excite.com has one of the worst webmail interfaces imaginable. Some java craplet that has sponsors" that you must click past. It's also large/complex enough to make the fans on my computer kick on.

I was using it to create a throwaway, I later found out they do not retire/release abandoned email addresses.

AltaVista user interface (1)

roboticon (2715841) | about a year ago | (#44139737)

I know they use the same engine (Bing), but IMO AltaVista's results page seems more complete and intuitive than Yahoo's. For two equivalent searches, the AltaVista page has more similar searches, has more "more results from ...." links, and just seems tighter and more cohesive.

Re:AltaVista user interface (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year ago | (#44140503)

Yes but AltaVista just prior to google was an interesting search engine. Type in your query, wait for the results and then immediately skip to page 3 completely ignoring the first two pages, quick preview of page 3 and the skip to page 5 sometimes even page 7 before the results you were looking for actually started to showed up, MSN search was just as bad (part of the reason for the $ in M$).

Is this confirmed? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44139749)

Has anyone asked Jeeves if it's true? That guy's a prodigy in his earth city (or geocity, if you will.)

Running gag? (5, Funny)

Molt (116343) | about a year ago | (#44139757)

If you can only take so many years of being a running gag then can we look forward to Yahoo! pulling the plug on itself?

Re:Running gag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140361)

AOL is still around; the premise is simply wrong.

'Google' Search (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44139759)

I did a search for "google" using it, just because I can be mean-spirited like that. But also I think there's probably some old guy out there who uses AltaVista as his home page because before his children abandon him they set that up for him and now it's abandoning him, too, but he's heard about this Google thing. Unfortunately, he thinks typing URLs and such into AltaVista is how the internet works. So he's leaving that search result up on his screen forever. Until the power goes out one fateful night, and he dies.

Re:'Google' Search (1)

some old guy (674482) | about a year ago | (#44140697)

Or I need to make a beer run.

-Some old guy.

bad link, evil link (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44139761)

timothy... not only did you post an article with a bad link, but the site is blocked by MacAfee for having malware.

Re:bad link, evil link (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44139801)

link works fine, you are just infected with the McAfee Virus

Re:bad link, evil link (1)

shugah (881805) | about a year ago | (#44139953)

Can I buy some mod points? Insightful.

Re:bad link, evil link (1)

PrimeNumber (136578) | about a year ago | (#44140477)

He keeps it around for the free bath salts.

Running gag (3, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#44139767)

"Running gag" is a shame, they really were pioneers in the search engine business. For me the switch to Google was simply because it had (and still has) an uncluttered interface.

Re:Running gag (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44139821)

Hotbot, then Altavista. From then on, it's Googles all the way down.

Re:Running gag (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44139979)

Lycos, Excite, Inktomi...

Don't forget those AOL signup CD-ROM's (often >1) that fell out of the bags you brought home from CompUSA.

Re:Running gag (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44140185)

Inktomi was the power behind Hotbot. I never found Lycos or Excite to be useful, except when Lycos had an FTP search.

Re:Running gag (1)

adolf (21054) | about a year ago | (#44140235)

...which was another ftpsearch, at the time.

I'm somewhat saddened when I look just now and find that all of my old ftpsearch sites are gone. But somewhat relieved when I realize that I really haven't needed them in a decade or so, which is why I didn't notice that they'd disappeared.

Re:Running gag (1)

some old guy (674482) | about a year ago | (#44140701)

I miss free AOL cd's...now I have to buy roadside mailbox reflectors and party coasters.

Re:Running gag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140587)

No, then alltheweb, then google... ;)

Ahh Alta vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44139823)

Ahh Alta Vista, you were my search engine of choice back in the 90's until Google came along.

CRT's, floppy discs and 14,400 dial up modems...those were the days.... ...sigh

Back in the Days of Kerosene Internet (1)

rueger (210566) | about a year ago | (#44139827)

Wow. Make me feel like an old timer! I used to love altavista - it was the absolute best there was.

Now, wasn't it astavista that provided me with so much reasonably priced software?

Re:Back in the Days of Kerosene Internet (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44139869)

Now, wasn't it astavista that provided me with so much reasonably priced software?

No, it was www.astalavista.box.sk

Re:Back in the Days of Kerosene Internet (1)

rueger (210566) | about a year ago | (#44139883)

That's it! Tempted to copy that into my browser but suspect it would be a VERY bad idea.

Kids today have no idea how much you appreciate Photoshop when you've downloaded in one file using a dial-up modem.

Re:Back in the Days of Kerosene Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140437)

Who downloads 1 big file...You have to download like 80 .part zip files (each at 1.38mb!) and hope the files don't become corrupted.

Re:Back in the Days of Kerosene Internet (4, Funny)

TClevenger (252206) | about a year ago | (#44140227)

"Warez do you want to go today?"

Lycos? (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year ago | (#44140091)

Lycos anyone?

Used to use it, it was the best (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about a year ago | (#44139859)

In its heyday, it was the best.

alta la vista, baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44139895)

Its last words were "I'll be back".

I say ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44139939)

... we all start using it and see if Yahoo changes their mind.

This still exists...? (0)

David Betz (2845597) | about a year ago | (#44139947)

I'm about as surprised to find out this was still around as I was last week when I found out SVN still existed. Don't tell me ColdFusion is still on the market...

Re:This still exists...? (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about a year ago | (#44140515)

I have a subscriber still using a webtv.com email address. Bizarre. He's in his 70s, crusty old war vet.

so long. I learned SEO on altavista & launched (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44139949)

So long and thanks for all the fish, Altavista.
I first learned search engine optimization by studying Alatavista, then moved on to Hotbot (Inktomi).
That was the beginning of a great business, and my first good paying job.

Ah the memories (4, Interesting)

Coppit (2441) | about a year ago | (#44139981)

I remember back in the day AltaVista was the only search engine which allowed you to use + and - to fine-tune the results. Before Google's pagerank that was the best you could hope for.

Re:Ah the memories (1)

tomp (4013) | about a year ago | (#44140063)

It's still the best you could hope for. Sure wish Google still had that technology.

If my search criteria isn't on the page, I don't want to see it. Can't google get some of that cutting edge 90's tech back? They have smart people, right?

Re:Ah the memories (1)

siride (974284) | about a year ago | (#44140101)

You can use '-' on Google searches.

Re:Ah the memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140167)

And +

Re:Ah the memories (2)

tomp (4013) | about a year ago | (#44140193)

Yea, but it doesn't work. Google simply isn't able to do text searches anymore. They can return as many fast half-assed results as I can stand, but not one single accurate result.

Wanna get a list of pages that don't contain the test altavist? Simple just search for -altavista. Yea, doesn't work.

Re:Ah the memories (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about a year ago | (#44140145)

I remember back in the day AltaVista was the only search engine which allowed you to use + and - to fine-tune the results. Before Google's pagerank that was the best you could hope for.

I remember back in the day when Google was a search engine that actually responded correctly to + and - to fine-tune results, and when Google even listened to the actual words you typed, rather than replacing them with what it thinks are synonyms or sometimes random words that have nothing to do with what I'm searching for.

I gave up using Google over a year ago because it had become so hard to get it to actually search for the exact words I type, instead of having it try to guess what I mean.

If I wanted my computer to try to make wild guesses about what I was trying to do instead of doing what I ask, I'd reinstall Office 95 and spend my days in dialog with Clippy.

Re:Ah the memories (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about a year ago | (#44140153)

Sorry - I meant Office 97.

Re:Ah the memories (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140293)

uhm, use quotes?

Re:Ah the memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140377)

Doesn't work. Try it.

From the for what it's worth department... (5, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#44140277)

I remember back in the day AltaVista was the only search engine which allowed you to use + and - to fine-tune the results. Before Google's pagerank that was the best you could hope for.

From the for what it's worth department... when Google dropped the ability to force inclusion of specific search terms, which was shortly before it introduced Google+, it was incredibly contentious inside Google itself, and a lot of Google employees at the time, myself included, complained bitterly about the ability to get accurate results any more.

Most of use were natural lexicographers who could think hierarchically enough that we knew the search terms we wanted in order to get the results we wanted. surprising how we ended up working at a search engine, right? About 2/3rds of us really felt they were "dumbing down" search in order to use the same datastores for normal search as the first and second order relationships being used to generate targetted advertising results. Altavista was mentioned *a lot*.

Re:From the for what it's worth department... (3, Interesting)

psychonaut (65759) | about a year ago | (#44140569)

Google never dropped the ability to force inclusion of specific search terms; they just changed the syntax without telling anyone. Before you had to prepend a + to any term you wanted to include in the results. Now you instead need to surround the term with quotation marks.

better idea (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44139997)

Just put the AltaVisa domain on top of Yahoo Search with an AltaVista logo. Old users won't know the diff. Why kill off a few thousand customers for lack of a logo?

I totally remember altavista (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140039)

It was the only search engine that allowed very specific +/- combos. I remember it being better in that respect than Google is now (although Google was vastly better returning correct results when it came on the scene).

Alternatives... (2)

akh (240886) | about a year ago | (#44140089)

Looks like it's back to using the alternative [cmu.edu] .

Infoseek? (1)

approachingZero (1365381) | about a year ago | (#44140103)

Anyone else use Infoseek?

Altavista - remembered (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140123)

I remember AV, from the early to mid 1990's. It was pretty much irrelevant by the late 90's.A product of DEC (long before DEC was acquired by HP), it COULD have been Google if DEC had half a brain regarding the Internet. Too bad - I really liked DEC hardware and software (Ultrix, VAX, Tru64 Unix, etc). Once HP bought DEC - into the dump it went! :-( In any case, it did show what you could do with web searches. Innovative, and ahead of its time - two damning attributes for a new software paradigm!

Hasta la AltaVista, baby (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140137)

I remember when they had the only decent directory and search engine on the Internet. Seems like an eternity ago.

Farewell, AltaVista.

Arnie Says... (1, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44140147)

Alta la vista Baby!

Or something like that...

Ping Tests (1)

nuckfuts (690967) | about a year ago | (#44140213)

For years now, when checking for DNS resolution and basic Internet connectivity from whatever network I'm in, my first quick test has been "ping altavista.com". Year after year, I trusted that if the Internet connection was working, I'd get a response. Altavista never let me down :)

altavista.digital.com (2)

linebackn (131821) | about a year ago | (#44140225)

I remember when the original URL was http://altavista.digital.com/ [digital.com]

In the early days it even recognized Pathworks Mosaic 1.0 by its user agent, and served up a really, really simple HTML page just for it.

There was even a Personal version of the search engine that you could download and run on your own server to index your Intranets.

Sad to see it go because the world really needs more diversity when it comes to search engines. If there is something the Big Engines don't want you to have, it might as well not exist.

good stuff (1)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about a year ago | (#44140259)

Had best image/video search first, and their "free" dial-up was great.

Asta Lavista (4, Funny)

future assassin (639396) | about a year ago | (#44140285)

baby.

Re:Asta Lavista (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44140685)

baby.

That's a funny way to say .box.sk, Ahnold :)

Re:Asta Lavista (1)

eneville (745111) | about a year ago | (#44140745)

Someone mod parent funny :)

I only remember astalavista.box.sk (1)

zenlessyank (748553) | about a year ago | (#44140291)

well i remember uninstalling altavista off of many a slow ass dell/hp/compaq/proprietary turd but then i toked it out of memory.

Spam Problem with Altavista? (1)

PastTense (150947) | about a year ago | (#44140457)

Didn't Altavista develop a major problem with spam? You search for almost anything and porn sites were among the top items returned?

It seems that was a major reason which I switched to Google--which was in Beta at the time--and still in Beta several years later.

Sock Puppet (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44140475)

But it's the only search engine that returns results for "Sock Puppet"

Where it all began (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44140487)

AltaVista was a huge innovation. Nobody at the time thought that someone could provide a search service for the entire internet for free. DEC rented the old vacant telephone building behind the Walgreens in downtown Palo Alto. (That building now houses the Palo Alto Internet Exchange, which at one time was the major Silicon Valley switching node for the Internet.) They installed DEC Alpha rack-mounted machines. The whole thing was a demo of DEC Alpha technology, to show that a large number of DEC machines could do things no mainframe could.

That was a huge change from previous data center construction. Until then, most data centers had raised floors and nice cabinets. Telephone central offices, though, had tall open racks firmly bolted to the building, with cable trays overhead. AltaVista was the first big data center built that way. Telcos were better at cable management than computer services in those days. Using telco-style cable management turned out to be a huge win.

yea I do remember (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#44140747)

it was the only search engine at the time that let you do +- stuff and return even less meaningful results

next we are going to have a candlelight service for lycos?

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