EDIT: haha now it's been so long I've even forgotten the operators. They where the boolean operators AND, OR, NOT etc. spelled out, and other very useful sculpting tools.
I miss that aspect of the web.
For me the search results were across the board worse than Altavista but better specifically in searching API documentation.
Every time I search for a collection of terms, and then click the links, and page-search for one of those terms, and it's not in the page.
Google wastes my time like this 3-4 times per day.
As I travel around the world, I need to keep changing my search settings to find what I want.
They used to allow you to mark required terms with a +-sign, but unfortunately they took that feature out a while back.
Pretty annoying as it requires two signs and at more than one place but at least it still allows me to search.
Of course, heuristic features in computer programs usually benefit from a "do what I say, not what I mean" override option, but it's reasonable to call that an advanced feature.
There's a fine line between clever and stupid.
The code from the Digital era, for instance, would be quite a contribution to the Internet community, even if just for the sake of preserving historically-important software.
The tabs eg. images, video, lead directly to subdomains of search.yahoo.com, so everything except web is handled very transparently on Yahoo's own pages.
More importantly, the action on the Alta Vista search form itself is (for me, I assume some of this is dynamically generated):
Note that the action on the yahoo.com (US) search form is:
It's certainly not complete proof, but it does seem that altavista.com search is handled by search.yahoo.com in a similar way to yahoo.com itself.
I'm not sure about Yahoo!'s policies, but most other large companies or organizations with custom software have processes in place to ensure the archival of old source code.
In these kinds of organizations, it's quite typical to have source code going back many years, if not many decades, for each release of a given software product.
This has gotten even easier as source control has become more widely used, especially during the 1980s and later, and as storage space has gotten far cheaper and larger. Many development groups have put great effort into ensuring that entire histories have been preserved when moving between version control systems, even when several such transitions have taken place. It can sometimes be possible to see change sets committed back in the 1980s, for instance.
Again, while I don't have any first-hand experience there, I'd be very surprised if Yahoo! did not have at least some of the early AltaVista source code archived in some way.
When AltaVista first appeared, I had used Lexis quite a bit, and had built my own inverted index for law forms. I thought "Wow, you can do that to Web pages!"
But it is even more depressing to keeping dragging the corpse of AltaVista around. Time to let go.
VMS (let's keep it expensive and hard to get ahold of while Unix is getting cheaper, and oh, then we'll decide we're a Windows shop anyway).
Flogging off their database technology to Oracle.
Alpha. Poor, poor Alpha.
The waste of giving the StrongARM to Intel, who would ultimately kill it.
AltaVista, of course.
Tru64's good bits (like AdvFS) was criminally wasted, although I guess that's more HP's fault in the end.
Over time I guess that number become small enough that maintaining a separate brand is no longer worth the likely small amount of effort to do it.
Altavista was, pre-Google, the best of the search engines. I am fairly sure that the original idea for Altavista was a droll comment made by Andy Freeman at lunch that sketched the possibility of a smarter-than-inverted-list search engine for the Internet; Paul made it all happen.
"Well kind of", I replied, but none of the things it returned are what I'm looking for.
Oh no, that's not how it works, he explained. You have then find your actual results somewhere on the 2nd or 3rd page. Or narrow the results with a curious combinations of + and -.
If only I had connected the dots perhaps I would have written Google myself.
This article makes me seriously nostalgic.