AltaVista was an early web search engine established in 1995. AltaVista was created by researchers at Digital Equipment Corporation's Network Systems Laboratory and Western Research Laboratory who were trying to provide services to make finding files on the public network easier. Paul Flaherty came up with the original idea, along with Louis Monier and Michael Burrows, who wrote the crawler and indexer, respectively. The name "AltaVista" was chosen in relation to the surroundings of their company at Palo Alto, California. AltaVista publicly launched as an internet search engine on December 15, 1995 at altavista.digital.com.
AltaVista's site was an immediate success. Traffic increased steadily from 300,000 hits on the first day to more than 80 million hits per day two years later. The ability to search the web, and AltaVista's service in particular, became the subject of numerous articles and even some books. AltaVista itself became one of the top destinations on the web, and in 1997 it earned US$50 million in sponsorship revenue. It was once one of the most popular search engines, but it lost ground to Google and was purchased by Yahoo! in 2003, which retained the brand but based all AltaVista searches on its own search engine. On July 8, 2013, the service was shut down by Yahoo! and since then, the domain has redirected to Yahoo!'s own search site.
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