AltaVista, one of the internet’s first search engines, has died. It was launched in 1995, and officially began redirecting to Yahoo!’s own search engine on July 8, 2013. The search engine struggled for its later years, but in its heyday, received more than 80 million hits per day. The innovative search engine likely paved the way for its booming successor, Google.
AltaVista grew from humble beginnings at Digital Equipment Corporation, and thrived with immediate success. The first day garnered 300,000 hits, and earned $50 million in sponsorship revenue in 1997, only two years after its launch.
Yahoo! took over AltaVista, however both search engines were ultimately annihilated by Google. As Google’s success rose, AltaVista’s declined. Google began indexing billions of sites, whereas AltaVista could only index approximately 20 million, though at the search engine’s birth, that was still a huge number. In 2001, Google officially began serving more searches than AltaVista.
Yahoo! is making an effort to focus on specific web properties. This meant dropping the axe on the once-popular AltaVista, a search engine that went through multiple owners and management strategies, which probably contributed to the demise of the engine. Along with AltaVista, Yahoo! is also shutting down Yahoo Axis, a search engine directed at iPhone and tablet users.
And so, at 18 years old, AltaVista has officially been closed. Rest in peace, AltaVista.