Feeds

AltaVista returns from the Wilderness

Did anyone notice?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

AltaVista Co wants to get back to the good old days when it was the most respected web search engine on the internet, and this week outlined how it hopes to learn from the lessons taught by Google Inc, the usurper that came from nowhere to own the market Kevin Murphy writes.

The firm, which is currently a subsidiary of CMGI Inc, has increased the size and relevancy of its search engine and has eliminated much of the fat accumulated on its pages during its wilderness years, to better appeal to the web search OEM channel.

"AltaVista has repositioned itself as an internet search company," said AltaVista chief scientist Jan Pederson. "There was a period when AltaVista was in the position Google is now. Then there was a drift in the company, a lack of focus - the portal strategy."

As a highly respected search engine trying to become a portal, AltaVista waged an un-winnable war against the likes of Yahoo!, AOL and MSN, only to find Google emerge from nowhere to steal its crown when nobody was looking.

The challenge of being a search engine provider is to balance revenue earned from your destination site against the wishes of portal partners, which will pay you to use your search engine provided you don't steal customers from them.

Pederson admitted AltaVista lost contracts - notably with MSN, which went to Inktomi Corp - due to its ambitions as a destination site. But Google has demonstrated that having a destination is not only acceptable but also desirable when courting OEM portals, he added.

Under new management, the company is dropping as far as possible graphical advertising, including pop-ups and so-called "skyscrapers", which add clutter. There will be a renewed emphasis on relevant ads and text-only ads provided by the likes of Overture Services Inc, Pederson said.

AltaVista is also currently test-marketing a service called Tracer, which attempts to provide a relevant advertisement on the estimated 70% of keywords in the query stream that do not have advertising sold against them.

Tracer remembers previous queries a user has made. If a user searches for "cars", she sees a text ad for cars. If she subsequently searches for "hammocks", and Overture cannot provide an ad from a hammock company, AltaVista will serve an ad from a car company.

In terms of search index quality, Pederson said the company has made a number of incremental tweaks and refinements to increase the relevancy (up to 40% more relevant versus nine months ago, according to internal panel tests) and has increased the freshness and size.

There are now "just shy of one billion" pages in the AltaVista index (about a third the size of Google's index). AltaVista re-crawls URLs that its users have visited every 24 hours, and refreshes the entire index every 30 to 60 days.

© ComputerWire

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.