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Life without Google: Altavista a depressing dead end

Using AltaVista was like going into a house that has been closed down for the last five years. There was mold, cobwebs and overall the whole experience was depressing when you ponder what might have been.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Using AltaVista was like going into a house that has been closed down for the last five years. There was mold, cobwebs and overall the whole experience was depressing when you ponder what might have been.

Simply put, I made a wrong turn, which may be a common thing in my life without Google experiments.

To be honest Altavista was tossed into my relic bin. I remember the company tried to go public numerous times and tried to be a portal. It could have been Google. Now it's a memory. Altavista had the misfortune of being owned by two companies--CMGI and Digital Equipment (later Compaq, which later was absorbed into HP) that just couldn't give it the love it deserved as one of the Web's first search engines.

After a search or two, I had to refresh my memory a bit. Altavista is owned by Overture Services, which is now a part of Yahoo. I gravitated to the press room just to see if there was anything new with Altavista. Apparently not. The latest announcement was in August 2003. Overture bought the Altavista business in April 2003 and Yahoo bought Overture in July 2003. Overture picked Altavista up for $140 million.

I decided to take Altavista for a spin based on a talkback in one of my previous posts, but there's nothing there. In a nutshell, Altavista is Yahoo search with a different wrapper. All of the menu items--toolbar, answers, director, shopping etc.--are redirected to Yahoo.

Now there may be a few of you being nostalgic, but it's time to move on.

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