If you’re an early Internet denizen, then you probably remember typing your search query into AltaVista. The site went live in 1995. That’s 18 calendar years but 254 in web years.
The site was fast and its fingers could reach into the darkest corners of the Internet – corners we’d never be able to reach before. After a few years, AltaVista was fielding more than 80 million queries a day. You could search using a full sentence and you could use it to translate webpages in other languages.
AltaVista was the Cadillac of search engines until Google came along. Yes, Virginia, there was life before Google.
The site changed hands numerous times over the years, eventually landing at Yahoo! in 2003. Now, after a short, but illustrious career, AltaVista is shutting down. Here’s what the site looked like in May of 1999.