Once upon a time, there was a popular search engine called AltaVista. It lives no more.
On Monday, its owner Yahoo Inc. sent AltaVista.com to the Internet graveyard to rest alongside order-almost-anything venture Kozmo.com and the butler from Ask Jeeves.
Palo Alto, California-based AltaVista was introduced in 1995, three years before Google Inc. was founded. Eclipsed by Google in the early 2000s, AltaVista's star had already faded by the time Yahoo acquired it as part of its $1.7 billion U.S. purchase of Overture Services Inc. in July 2003. Overture had bought AltaVista earlier that year.
In the internet's early days, most search engines had very limited search capacity and couldn't keep up with the thousands of sites springing up. AltaVista was one of the first comprehensive web search engines,or web crawlers, that could store millions of pages within its index, allowing it to more effectively keep pace with the online world's rapid growth. By 1997, the site was handling 20 million queries per day.
Yahoo announced AltaVista's fate on its Tumblr page late last month. Search industry expert Danny Sullivan called it "the bright child neglected by your parents" in a blog post eulogizing its fate.