Computer Update: Alta Vista Says Goodbye on July 8

Most of you are going to ask, what is Alta Vista? If you are as ancient an Internet user as I am, then you may remember the name. Founded in 1995 by the now defunct Digital Equipment Corporation or DEC as we called it then, Alta Vista was the search engine of choice prior to Yahoo and Google appearing on the scene. I grew up doing searches on Alta Vista.

Alta Vista got acquired and sold over the years. First, Compaq, the personal computer rival to IBM, bought DEC in 1998 and with it the search engine. Then in 2002 Hewlett-Packard bought Compaq. But Alta Vista by then had lost its luster and was sold off to an online advertising search company, Overture Services. Overture soon was purchased by Yahoo. That was 2003. But it was the growth of Google that ultimately killed Alta Vista as it is killing Yahoo today. Now after 18 years the brand is being put to bed forever.

Some interesting stats to ponder in this Age of the Internet. When Alta Vista got started in 1995 it was processing 2.5 million search requests a day. Today Google handles 5.1 billion requests per day. How the world has changed in 18 years.


Alta Vista, may you rest in peace!

Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...


  • sco

    It was my preferred search engine. Oldies but goldies !

  • Steve Papagiannis

    How very sad. Like you Len, I used Alta Vista extensively. I found it allowed great control over you search criteria and was fast (back when 19200kb modems were considered screaming fast).

    I actually thought it had already been shuttered, but i suppose it was on a thin life support of brand name only. Maybe I can buy the brand for $50?