Yahoo kills Alta Vista and other products you never knew

In an effort to streamline the company and reduce costs, Yahoo is killing things. One of the products on the chopping block carries a ring of nostalgia for internet users of a certain age: Alta Vista, one of the early search engines that preceded Google’s dominance. READ THE REST

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Yep. They can’t compete so they buy things and close them down. was a great concept but they killed it by merging it with non-Indie DIY majors and turned it into sort of a pre-cursor, then then… plop. Nothing. At its apex had user created content in every major city in the USA. They had reps that would clue you into the clubs if you were a touring band or to bands if you just were new to town and looking for a show to go to. is the next best thing to it. But Yahoo is a shit stain. Honestly I didn’t know Alta was still around.

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To Yahoo’s credit, Flickr was recently updated.

You know, for the first time since they bought it, it seems. And well after the photo-sharing market-share was lost.

I hadn’t used AltaVista in years. But I slept better knowing I could if I had wanted to…

I am one of those nostalgic for Alta Vista. I remember it as being one of the first really effective search engines, having previously just had Webcrawler - probably because AV used a lot of pattern logic (+“this” -that). They were also behind, or at least were early publishers of Babelfish - which was the first time I’d ever seen effective real time translation of any scale. So, they certainly made their mark on the late 90s.
That said, I haven’t even though about them since Google launched.

I suspect this won’t be the last thing Yahoo! kills this week.

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Wait is Yahoo also behind the telegram shutdown in India? Bastards!


AV was my preferred search engine. Thirteen years ago. Fare thee well old friend.

They’ve announced 12 products, although FTA they were mostly betas, music, sports, and other e-junk that was from the previous regime.

I stopped going to Altavista personally when they killed the link to, which if I can recall was the subject of one of the earlier web site trademark/squatting cases in the mid-90s.

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I recall that (back in the day) AV was much better at finding things like technical papers/etc. AV’s Babelfish was my go to translator for many years.

How is it that when Yahoo! closes something (AltaVista), everyone says, “Oh, that Yahoo! can’t compete in today’s marketplace!”, but when Google closes something (Reader, Talk, etc), the conventional wisdom is, “Well, they took it as far as they could but it’s not their fault/there’s no market for it/it’s the user’s fault/the market really wants Plus instead”. Google failed to innovate on Reader as much as Yahoo! has on numerous products (such as Flickr), but Google gets a pass while Yahoo gets killed.

If the argument is that Google is a better company than Yahoo!, I’d easily agree. But the bias for Google/against Yahoo! really shows on some of these articles.

Altavista also was a relatively early source of free e-mail accounts before yahoo and google offered them. I remember being annoyed when yahoo killed off all the altavista email accounts shortly after they bought it.

Since when did Google get a pass for killing Reader? The Boing Boing thread about it shows 170 comments.

There were quite a few articles I read that were along the lines of “If they’re shutting down Google Reader, how can we trust them to maintain any service?” And a lot of suggestions for alternatives to Google Reader and to other Google services. Especially ones that don’t depend on any particular company.

Man, this is just like when Don Knotts died. All excited because, hey Don Knotts! Haven’t thought of that guy in years. Then all bummed because, aw no more Don Knotts. This SUCKS.”

I was still using Babelfish like five years ago. So: the late 1930s in Internet Years.

I worked for the guy who invented Webcrawler. The company has gone through several buyouts since I worked there, but Webcrawler still exists, it’s just part of a much more complex product and is now part of Microsoft’s Intranet program. At the time I worked there, the main use was for indexing and searching large corporate databases.

I worked at this company during the dot com boom and it was one of those companies started up by a handful of people that all got wildly rich. I learned they had started the business on credit card debt; there were about 30 credit cards in the business name and they had a spreadsheet to make sure the payments were made on schedule for each and every one. The owner’s sister was responsible for making all the payments on time.

The people who started the company became millionaires on their stock options but it was weird to see all the people who founded the business getting shoved out during the corporate buyout. I think that for all the money that was being shoveled at them, they had a lot of pride in their work and their product and the money was not that much of a comfort. I just saw this again at another company recently where the owner got even richer in a buyout - seems like he lost more than he gained.


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