Marcia J. Bates explains how Google’s birth led to the downfall of AltaVista

Ever since Google search engine came into the lives of billions of Internet users across the globe, many similar Internet companies died. One such company was AltaVista.

Founded in 1995, AltaVista was a very popular Internet search engine website. Nevertheless, AltaVista lost ground to Google and was purchased by Yahoo! in 2003.

Ten years later, Yahoo! officially shut down AltaVista in July 2013 and redirected the domain name to its own search engine website.

Marcia J. Bates, UCLA Professor Emerita of Information Studies recently explained why AltaVista lost ground to Google sooner than expected.

According to Bates, early search engines including AltaVista adapted the classical information retrieval techniques developed by Gerard Salton at Cornell and Bill Maron at UC Berkeley on automatic indexing/retrieval of information.

These techniques mainly focused on automatic text-based processing and manipulation of documents, probabilities, and retrieving results according to ranking and processing score.

Although, these algorithmic techniques were eventually filtered out to be more substantial over the decades. At the other hand, Google founders started off with a completely different approach in mind.

Google successfully recognized the potential of URLs, which could be added to the algorithms for the sake of information indexing altogether.

This new technique pioneered by Google could be a big blow to all the conventional information retrieval techniques by improving the overall process accuracy.

Google’s approach led to the overhaul of the classic IR algorithms with the help of already established connections made by web page developers and authors.

“Google’s techniques were a huge boost to classical IR methods. Whatever other business and company management issues AltaVista faced, it was the last of the old style information retrieval engines,” Bates added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *