Yahoo Shuts Down Services Including AltaVista

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The latest list of services to be closed down includes AltaVista, the pioneering search engine that once provided results to Yahoo

Yahoo has begun shuttering another set of services, including pioneering search engine AltaVista and the browser plug-in Axis, describing the closures as a fresh move to focus developers’ attention on “what’s next”.

“Today we’re shutting down a few products so we can continue to focus on creating beautiful products that are essential to you every day,” said Jay Rossiter, executive vice president for platforms, in a blog post.

Yahoo closures

The closures began taking effect on 28 June for search-oriented browser plug-in Axis which was only launched a year ago, as well as developer tool Yahoo Browser Plus and sports service Citizen Sports. The cuts continue through 28 September for developer tools Yahoo Local API and Yahoo Term Extraction API.

AltaVista was one of the first web search engines, launched in 1995, and leading the market until the arrival of Google in 1998. It was created by by computer manufacturer Digital Equipment (then a major player and subsequently merged into Compaq and then Hewlett-Packard. AltaVista supplied search results to Yahoo beginning in 1996, was acquired by Yahoo in 2003 and finally displayed search results supplied by Yahoo – themselves sourced from Microsoft’s Bing search engine. AltaVista is due to shut down as of 8 July.

yahoo logoWeb-based music player Yahoo WebPlayer will close down on 30 June; media player plug-in FoxyTunes and Yahoo RSS Alerts will close on 1 July; neighbourhood news service Yahoo Neighbors Beta will end on 8 July; celebrity news aggregator Yahoo Stars India will shut down on 25 July; and third-party downloads tool Yahoo Downloads Beta will close on 31 July.

The company directed users of its RSS Alerts to its Keyword News alerts. For other features the company recommended services such as Yahoo Music, its Sports app, Yahoo Search and Yahoo India OMG.

While shutting down some services, the company is also developing others through relaunches or acquisitions as it looks to reinvent itself under current chief executive Marissa Mayer.

Revamp

At the company’s most recent shareholder meeting, on 25 June, the Internet giant reported that user activity is up 10 percent, with user interactions on the homepage up by 25 percent. Photo uploads on the company’s Flickr service are up fourfold since its relaunch, the company said.

Yahoo has acquired 14 companies since January, including photography app developer GhostBird Software and conference calling start-up Rondee, both acquired on 13 June.

Other notable acquisitions include the buyout of social blogging site Tumblr in May for more than $1bn (£660m) and the acquisition of news aggregation app Summly, developed by a British teenager, for around $30m in March.

In April the company said it would shut down a number of services including its Chinese Yahoo Mail.

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