Yahoo, as part of their efforts to focus on specific web properties, has decided to close the search engine AltaVista. For those of you old-school enough to remember going to www.altavista.digital.com to get your AltaVista search, it is a sad ending for search engine.
Yahoo's announcement on the shuttering of AltaVista came in a brief sentence hidden amongst a larger list of the Yahoo properties they are closing in the coming year. AltaVista will officially cease to exist, with Yahoo suggesting use Yahoo search instead, on July 8.
AltaVista was one of the original search engines on the web, and was established well before Google hit the scene. It launched in 1995, and it wasn’t until 2001 that Google began serving more searches and AltaVista.
However, AltaVista went through a long series of owners beginning in 1998. At one point, both Overture and MSN were competing to purchase AltaVista, and ultimately ended up being acquired by Yahoo when they bought Overture in 2003.
It's puzzling why Yahoo just doesn't continue serving Yahoo search results and ads under the AltaVista brand name, particularly since comScore includes AltaVista in their listing for Yahoo sites when reporting on explicit core search share an explicit core search query report statistics. However, it’s really unknown how much AltaVista actually does contribute to that figure.
On July 8, AltaVista will begin redirecting visitors to the main Yahoo site. So they could also be attempting to get more traffic to the main site from the remaining diehard AltaVista users. Either way, it is sad that there was more of a send off for what was once considered to be the best search engine on the web.
Along with Yahoo closing AltaVista, Yahoo Axis, which launched just barely a year ago, has also been axed. This will surprising, because it was a search meant to attract searchers using iPhones, iPads and other touchscreen tablets.
After its launch however it didn't seem to generate much publicity and it is unknown how many users actually used Yahoo Axis or if it was a failure to promote the product properly to those who would use it most. It did suffer a major security flaw when it launched the Google Chrome extension of Axis, which could have affected its popularity.