Back in the early days of the World Wide Web, in a time before Google, there was quite a lot of competition for web searching with a few small search engines fighting for market share.
In my early days on the web from about 1992 onwards, the web experience in the UK was dominated by the likes of online service providers such as CompuServe and AOL or one of the first “true” ISP’s such as Demon Internet. If you wanted to find websites, you would have to know the web address or look though online directories.
Things started to change around 1994 when a new range of search engines started to appear such as WebCrawler and Lycos. These sites helped to find what you wanted on the web with largely relevant results. Then in 1995, newcomer AltaVista was launched.
AltaVista’s search results we more relevant than ever and became one of the most popular search engines on the web. As well as crawling the web, AltaVista also became a popular portal and also added the massively popular Bablefish translator which meant for the first time you could easily translate text via the web simply by “cut n pasting” the text.
AltaVista began to lose ground rapidly when Google launched in 1998 and in 2003 it was bought by Overture and in turn Yahoo!.
Yahoo! announced yesterday (28th June 2013) that AltaVista would finally be no more from 8th July 2013, recommending that people use Yahoo! Search instead.
Many will argue that AltaVista “died” many years ago when Yahoo! first took it over. Even today, in the days before it’s plug is pulled forever, it’s little more that a rebranded Yahoo! search.
So long Altavista – and thanks for all the (Babel)fish.