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Business Briefing

Yahoo Pulls Plug on Pioneering Search Engine AltaVista

Yahoo Pulls Plug on Pioneering Search Engine AltaVista
July 9, 2013 1:59PM

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As of May 2013, AltaVista was nowhere to be found on comScore's search engine rankings. Google sites led the explicit search core market with 66.7 percent of the search queries conducted. That equals 13.4 billion of the 20 billion searches that month. Microsoft sites came in second at 17.4 percent, and Yahoo sites rounded up the top three with 11.9 percent.

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Yahoo has pulled the plug on one-time Google rival and predecessor AltaVista. If you are new to the Internet, you may have never heard of the once-promising search engine from back in the Netscape browsing days.

Yahoo announced the shutdown earlier this year but finally put the kibosh on the Internet brand on Monday. The company is recommending AltaVista users switch to Yahoo Search. In fact, the AltaVista.com domain name now points to the Yahoo Search home page.

"AltaVista was the search engine for search-savvy hipsters -- the Google of the early Internet era. The brand has little or no resonance today," said Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence. "And while Yahoo could preserve it as an experimental site, the company obviously believes it has no reason to do so."

Hasta La Vista, Alta

Created by engineers at Digital Equipment Corp. as part of a project to make it easier to find files on the Internet, AltaVista came online in 1995, three years before Google was born. At the height of its glory, AltaVista received more than 80 million hits a day. But by the early 2000s Google was surpassing AltaVista. Yahoo acquired AltaVista as part of a deal for Overture Services in July 2003.

As of May 2013, AltaVista was nowhere to be found on comScore's search engine rankings. Google sites led the explicit search core market in May with 66.7 percent of the search queries conducted. That equals 13.4 billion of the 20 billion searches conducted that month.

Microsoft sites came in second at 17.4 percent with 3.5 billion searches, and Yahoo sites rounded up the top three with 11.9 percent and 2.4 billion searches. Ask Network accounted for 2.7 percent of the search engine market in May with 547 million searches, and AOL held tightly to its 1.3 percent with 266 million searches.

Forging Ahead

While Yahoo continues closing down properties, the company is pushing ahead with other agendas. Yahoo is on an acquisition streak and is also releasing new products.

On Tuesday, the company announced Dropbox integration in Yahoo Mail for Android. Here's how it works: In the app, start a new e-mail, tap the attachment icon and choose "Share from Dropbox." If you've already linked your Dropbox account, then you can start choosing files to share right away. If you don't have an account, just sign up from within the app.

Last week, Yahoo acquired Qwiki, an app-maker whose software turns pictures and videos from events you've captured on your iPhone into short movies to share.

In May, Yahoo bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion and vowed "not to screw it up." That same month, Yahoo also bought Astrid, a mobile to-do list app. And in March, the company bought Summly, which offers an algorithm that generates summaries from hundreds of news sources. AllThingsD pegged that deal at about $30 million. Yahoo also snapped up Jybe in March, a mobile personalized recommendation service.

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