Happy Belated Birthday to AltaVista

A bit of web search history!

Last week, December 15th to be precise, was the ninth anniversary of AltaVista’s launch.

+ In 2002, Chris put together a SearchDay article to celebrate AV’s seventh anniversary.

+ AV News Release: Digital Develops Internet’s First ‘Super Spider’ from December 15, 1995, here.

+ The AV home page on May 11, 1996

A couple of passages from:

“Digital Equipment Offers Web Browsers Its ‘Super Spider’.
by Peter H. Lewis
The New York Times, December 18, 1995

+ Allan L. Jennings, Digital’s manager of advanced technology business development, said the company would decide later if it would eventually charge for the searching software, offer subscriptions, or make it available free and recoup its investment through advertising or sponsorship. It is expected that Alta Vista will draw large crowds to Digital’s Web site and act as a showcase for Digital’s own Internet products.

+ The Alta Vista searcher also enhances its performance by sending out what Digital calls a “brood of spiders,” technically known as threads, to scan Web sites much more quickly. A super spider search can consist of as many as 1,000 simultaneous threads.

Mr. Fuller of Digital acknowledged the risk of millions of spiders clogging the Internet and potentially overwhelming the network connections of small Web information providers. He said Digital intends to detect the capacity of each Web site the spider visits and avoid a disabling drain on that site.

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