I Remember the Web: altavista.digital.com

First in an occasional series where I show how old I am by reminiscing about the ’90s World Wide Web.

Do you remember the Altavista search engine? I don’t mean the thing that Yahoo bought and buried. I mean the original 1990s version.

altavista search

Altavista was an exciting game-changer when it arrived at the end of 1995. Web search had a lot of room for improvement. Altavista’s two standout attributes that crushed the competition (e.g. WebCrawler) were its size and its speed.

I recall Digital saying it was partly intended as a demo of the powerful hardware they had dedicated to it. But in any case it was a huge leap in usability.

Then Google came along and added better relevance while also being vast and fast. I didn’t find Google to be an obvious Altavista-killer at first, but over time it kept improving substantially while Altavista did not.