AltaVista goes back to its roots
November 25, 2002 7:03 AM   Subscribe

AltaVista goes back to its roots I regularly used AltaVista when I first came to the web but now haven't used it as a Search Engine for many months. Portals, and MSN in particular seem to be very popular but I'm unable to see the attraction (smacks of spoon-feeding idiots "content" who can't find it themselves) so I'm pleased to see AltaVista changing back to what they do best. Can't see me switching back from Google though..
posted by jontyjago (12 comments total)
Somehow I don't think I'll be switching over in a hurry either. The front page is messy and plastered with sponsored links. Google got it just right and has justly cornered the market, and I don't see a half-hearted lick of paint reversing that. Although I couldn't agree more that the death of another web portal is reason for celebration.

As an aside, can anyone offer any insight into the popularity of I can't understand what compels anyone to visit it.
posted by zygoticmynci at 7:37 AM on November 25, 2002

As an aside, can anyone offer any insight into the popularity of I can't understand what compels anyone to visit it.

Probably has something to do with so many MSN users being unable to change their Start Page. :)
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:40 AM on November 25, 2002

I'm a Google addict too, but portals are useful for cases when a category search works better than a keyword search. While I wouldn't touch MSN with a 10-foot radiation-shielded pole, Yahoo! has been quite handy for searching for, (for instance): HTML and CSS guides, US area code directories, top-domain lists and free clip-art collections. Portals can also provide value-added features such as maps and regional yellow-pages.
posted by SealWyf at 7:50 AM on November 25, 2002

Google has cornered the market. Generally, 98% of the time I input a query into Google, I get the answer I was looking for. Why would I even consider switching.

Google does category based searches as well, based on
posted by benjh at 7:56 AM on November 25, 2002

Whoa -- that is ugly! I tried a search and got a poorly laid out results page with a Verisign banner ad that looked to have been created in MS Paint. Simple layout != amateurish layout. Is AltaVista so broke that they can't afford to hire a real designer or two?
posted by maudlin at 8:20 AM on November 25, 2002

Does Google still provided the search capability for Yahoo? Haven't seen their logo on there for a couple of months, so I'm assuming that contract must be over.

I liked it when they did; I could use their People Search, Maps/Driving Directions, Notepad, and Calendar features in the same place as my search engine.
posted by Vidiot at 9:13 AM on November 25, 2002

Yes Vidiot, they do. In fact Google has replaced Yahoo's own directory results as the default search, pushing the Y directory that used to be their central feature pretty far into insignificancy.
posted by c3o at 9:31 AM on November 25, 2002

Google rules but I have found AllTheWeb to be a decent contender.
posted by squidman at 10:36 AM on November 25, 2002

I give it mixed reviews. I agree with the criticism of the home page. A large part of the problem is the search box--the main feature of the page--is the shape and location of a traditional banner ad, so it ends up getting lost in superfluous stuff.

As far as the actual search results, however, it's not too bad. I did a search on both Google and Alta Vista for "style sheets tutorial." Here are the top five results from each:
  • Google:,,,,
  • Alta Vista:,,,,
They agree on four out of five, and both agree on the top listing. I guess they are trying to copy more than just the look from Google.
posted by chipr at 11:08 AM on November 25, 2002

Let's talk about an information orgy. Let's talk about Refdesk.
posted by Zoyd Wheeler at 11:37 AM on November 25, 2002

Let's talk about Ref-desk, bay-bee
Let's talk about you and me
Let's talk about--
uh, never mind...
posted by Vidiot at 7:24 AM on November 26, 2002

Let's talk about Refdesk.

Ok, it's pleasantly lighter on the ads, but there's still way too much stuff on there. And my bookmarks are easier to navigate ...
posted by walrus at 9:07 AM on November 26, 2002

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