AltaVista . It is a multilingual search engine of the company Overture Service Inc. purchased in turn by Yahoo! . Its headquarters are in California, and about 61,000 searches are conducted each day.


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  • 1 General
  • 2 Origin of the name
  • 3 Theme
  • 4 Goal
  • 5 Advantages
  • 6 Search formats
    • 1 Use of Boolean operators in Altavista
  • 7 Web search results page
  • 8 AltaVista Procedure
  • 9 Transactions
  • 10 Sources


AltaVista, which means “a vision from above”, was inspired by the creation of great ideas by a team of experts fascinated with monitoring information . During the spring of 1995 , scientists at the Digital Equipment Corporation Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, California created a way to store all the words on all the HTML pages on the Internet in a quick searchable index. This led to the development of AltaVista the first database of text fully in which they could search the internet .

Other notable AltaVista inventions include the Internet’s first multilingual search capability and the first search technology that supported multiple languages ​​such as Chinese , Japanese, and Korean. It was Babel Fish, the first machine translation service on the Web that can translate entire words, phrases, or websites to and from English , Spanish , French , German , Portuguese , Italian, and Russian .

Name’s origin

According to the creators of this popular search engine, its name comes from a situation in which someone saw on a blackboard not very well erased the word “Alto” (from the city of Palo Alto in the state of California in the United States ) in front of the word “Vista “and shouted” why not call it AltoVista! ” from there it derived its current name: “Alta Vista” which means “looked at from above”.


The content of its platform consists of providing high technology to allow users to find information of all kinds. It also offers a trade service for various products through the network , finance section , yellow pages, translation service into several languages ​​through the web page translator : Babelfish, (which translates texts and complete web pages in Spanish , French , German , Portuguese and Italian). Its search service is highly fast, with an average of 0.4 to 0.5 seconds to find the search results, 140 million indexed pages and an update of these every 28 days.


A basic tenet of AltaVista’s mission is to provide the global community with access to information and to set the standard for search technology and how people find information. As the Web grows larger and more complex, it becomes increasingly essential for Internet users to find relevant information efficiently.

By innovating proven search technology and adapting it to the changing complexity of the Internet , it helps users find what they need quickly and intuitively. Searches for topics add information into highly segmented indexes, this helps users refine their searches and quickly access the information useful and relevant.

The company’s ‘Force of Precision’ philosophy underlies everything they do as they strive to offer the most powerful search tools available. They have also continued to evolve with new initiatives dedicated to continually improving freshness, quality and relevance to help users obtain the precise results they seek.


  • It offers the first index of the Webof the Internet ( 1995 )
  • First multilingual search capabilities on the Internet.
  • First Internet search engine tolaunch image , audio and video search capabilities .
  • More advanced Internet search functions and capabilities: multimediasearch , translation and language recognition , specialized search.
  • He has obtained 61 search patents, more than any other Internet search company.

Search formats

There are differences between the standard search format (the one that appears in the search box on the main page) and the advanced search format.

1- The search for images is not possible from the standard format.

2- The + and  operators are not available from the advanced format.

Instead of them you can use the boolean operators explained below to personalize your search.

Use of Boolean operators in Altavista

You can create specific relationships between keywords or phrases using parentheses () with the following Boolean operators:

  • AND& : Find documents containing all the words.
  • OR: Find documents that contain any of the words.
  • NOT /! : Find documents that exclude the specified word or phrase: ex: ftp &! web, find documents with ftp but they will not contain the word web. It is not allowed to use it if it is not accompanied by another operator such as AND.
  • NEAR~ : Find documents containing both specified words or phrases with 10 words between them.
  • (): Use the parentheses to complete the Boolean phrases Ex: (ftp & web) AND (ftp & server) allows to find both conditions.

Web search results page

  • Translate: This link allows you to easily translate a web pageinto nine languages. When translating a page, AltaVista automatically translates all the pages you link to from it.
  • More pages on this site: When a site contains many pages that largely match your query, by clicking on this link you can see all of them. If there is a second page that is almost as relevant as the first, AltaVista automatically displays it below the first, indented .
  • PDFfiles : AltaVista searches for various types of files in response to the queries you make. When you find a relevant PDF file, you will see a note indicating “File Format: PDF” and a link to easily download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software, which is required to view a PDF file.

AltaVista Procedure

Altavista uses a search robot . Before adding the URL in the corresponding box, you have to look at an image that contains letters and numbers and then copy those letters and numbers in the exact order, it is not necessary to respect upper and lower case. At that time you will be able to send up to five URLs to Altavista without having to reenter this code again.


In February of 2003 , AltaVista was bought by Overture Services, Inc. in October 2003, Overture was acquired by Yahoo! . In August of 2004 , shortly after the acquisition by Yahoo !, the web site AltaVista began using the technology of the search engine Yahoo !. With the agreement between Microsoft and Yahoo! in July of 2009 , possibly AltaVista or use the search engine Bing or the site disappear completely.


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