Yahoo Shutters AltaVista; Acquires Mobile Bignoggins Productions



Closures and acquisitions become signals of change. These days the lack of a Twitter account also tells another story. I remember sitting in my cubical at Ingram Micro (at the time), a computers and accessories distributor in Santa Ana, Calif., searching the Internet for information trying to figure out the best use for AltaVista and other similar early search engines. Around 1996, I had moved from designing catalogs, brochures and ads to writing copy about computer products and accessories in the company's in-house marketing department.

AltaVista, one of the earliest engines, will shutter on July 8, 2013. Quietly, after the stock market closed Friday, Yahoo posted on Tumblr about its demise. The engine, once the most advanced, was founded in 1995 by Louis Monier, now chief scientist at Proximic, and Michael Burrows, while at Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), which Compaq acquired in 1998, and then merged with Hewlett-Packard in 2002. Yahoo purchased AltaVista through its Overture Services acquisition.

Smiling after reading reports of Web goers mourning the loss, I wonder the last time they used the site. Really, folks, when was the last time you gave the engine a thought? A bit of nostalgia behind us, the site redirects the searcher to Yahoo.com. It's like a trendy woman's dress that sits in the back of the closet with the price tag on for 10 years before it surfaces again as you're going through items. It may seem new, because you haven't seen it for a while, but if it's a trendy style the likely outdated piece should go in the bag for the garage sale.

Thank you Louis and Mike for introducing us to the world of search. Unfortunately, if Yahoo would have let the site close without word, most people, expect for stockholders and founders, wouldn't have noticed. And as Yahoo shutters one service, it acquires another.

Yahoo's Bignoggins acquisition announced Monday brings production and mobile applications a bit closer to the Sunnyvale, Calif., company. TechCrunch describes the company as "a one-man iPhone development shop which had previously built a handful of fairly popular Fantasy Sports mobile apps." Jerry Shen, Bignoggins founder, tells us the technology will integrate into Yahoo Fantasy sports.

Tags: search, yahoo
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