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Our Company
AltaVista is the Internet’s premier media and commerce network that integrates unique technology and services to deliver relevant results faster for individuals and Web-based businesses. AltaVista is the network that makes you smarter by unlocking the boundless potential of the Internet. Only AltaVista gives you the most immediate and intelligent access to Internet resources, empowering you with the knowledge you need to succeed in life!What does this mean?
It means that since our inception in 1995, AltaVista has taken a deliberate course of action to provide Web enthusiasts with a broad range of Internet services and, through our proven technology, has succeeded in delivering relevant and useful information faster. Today, AltaVista delivers the ultimate Internet experience with the integration of our content platforms, offering an even broader range of highly distinctive content and services to our users and commerce and media partners.
Our Technology Back to Top 
AltaVista’s search technology has consistently been a performance leader since it was pioneered by the company as one of the first search services ever available, measured both by users and objective outside sources. With the integration of our content platforms—AltaVista Search, AltaVista Live, AltaVista’s, AltaVista Local Portal Services, My AltaVista and the AltaVista MicroPortal—and new features and services, AltaVista is revolutionizing how users and partners find the most relevant content, information, products, and services available through the Internet.
Our Services Back to Top 
AltaVista is committed to delivering best-of-breed Web results to our key users, by integrating content and functionality from both within the AltaVista Network and through external partners. Our primary focus is serving users. Capitalizing on our broad and distinctive offerings of innovative features and services, AltaVista delivers the ultimate Internet experience through multiple platforms:

  • AltaVista Search – the fastest, most comprehensive search service available
  • AltaVista Live – day and night real-time programming for news, entertainment, financial data, weather, and critical information to prosper in work and life
  • AltaVista’s – serving users with a new ultra-shopping experience with millions of products, users’ reviews, comparative shopping by products and value, the best option for purchasing, whether it’s online or offline at a store in your neighborhood
  • AltaVista Local Portal Services – through partnerships with leading news organizations, users can quickly find information that is specific to who they are, where they live, and what they need to accomplish on the Internet or in their home town
Our Approach Back to Top 
AltaVista’s unique approach is to continually build upon our proven foundation of technology leadership and results orientation. The company’s overriding promise is to offer unmatched services to the Web community through the integration of internally developed offerings, best of breed relationships and strategic acquisitions. Through our personalized local portal services, we have created a global constellation of city-centric Web destinations to give users the best in relevant local content and resources, combined with the Web’s most powerful features and functions. By removing the resource and personnel burdens associated with Web site deployment and maintenance, our partner-first approach enables our media and commerce affiliates to concentrate on what they do best, to develop the rich, locally relevant content their users demand.
Our History Back to Top 
Good ideas, strong equipment, and a strange fascination with keeping track of email brought AltaVista out of DEC’s Research lab and onto the Internet. In the spring of 1995, three DEC employees began talking about Digital’s new Alpha 8400 (nicknamed TurboLaser) computers over lunch. TurboLasers promised to run database software 100 times faster than the competition. Somewhere between bites of lunch, the idea of using TurboLasers to host a searchable full-text database of the Web was born.
How an Email Index Morphed into a Full-text Search Engine Back to Top 
Because of the lab’s unusual fascination with keeping track of old email, a researcher had created a very precise email index to track bulletin board conversations posted over the past 10 years. The index was good at finding specific bits of information in the volumes of stored email. The researchers used this tool to settle fierce technical debates. This full-text search framework became the foundation of AltaVista – and one of the first search engines that continues to help people find specific information within the ever-expanding boundaries of the World Wide Web.
Where the Name Came From… Back to Top 
The idea for the name AltaVista originally came from a white board that hadn’t been erased properly. The word Alto (of Palo Alto) was placed beside the word Vista and someone yelled out, “How about AltoVista!” It then became AltaVista, meaning “The view from above.”
Since Then… Back to Top 
Since the early days, other notable inventions to the engine include the first-ever multi-lingual searches on the Internet. We are also proud of Babel Fish — the Web’s first Internet translation service that translates words, phrases, and entire Web sites online in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Italian. More recently, we launched Photo Finder, an image search technology, and Family Filter to reduce objectionable content from users’ search results. Other improvements include phrase detection, spell check, and natural language capabilities.
Where We Are Today Back to Top 
A lot of exciting things have happened at AltaVista since we initially entered the Web scene just a few years ago. In January 1999, we became a wholly owned subsidiary of Compaq Computer Corporation (NYSE: CPQ). Compaq purchased in March and Zip2 Corporation in April. In August 1999, CMGI, Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI) acquired 83% of our outstanding stock from Compaq, and and Zip2 became our wholly owned subsidiaries. With this combination, we now have a broad range of commerce and media content under the AltaVista domain. We have also introduced multimedia search capabilities and added a variety of customizable features to Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.Today, we are expanding our services even further through the integration of each of our platforms and the introduction of new features and services with more exciting things to come in the months ahead. As always, we remain committed to providing our users with the best of what’s available on the Web from a single source. As we develop new and greater ways to reach our objectives and fulfill users’ needs, our view from above promises to look better and better.
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