AltaVista Usenet search

AltaVista was one of the first successful search engines working from 1995 to 2013. The search engine was developed by Network Systems Laboratory and the Western Research Laboratory of Digital Equipment Corporation. In the following years, the search engine was sold with the owner companies first from Digital to Compaq and then from Compaq to Overture, which was sold almost directly to Yahoo. While AltaVista initially provided Yahoo's search results, Yahoo later offered AltaVista's search results. According to Danny Sullivan (see AltaVista web search), Digital didn't develop AltaVista to build a successful search engine, they created it to sell their computer technology by demonstrating the mass of data their supercomputers can manage. AltaVista offered numerous vertical search offers over the years.

From the beginning there was a Usenet search, which was online from 1995 to 1999. AltaVista searched the Usenet archives of DejaNews and The Usenet contents of the last 6 to 12 months could thus be searched.

Language English

Launched 1995
Closed 1999

Developer Flaherty, Paul and Louis Monier, Michael Burrows

Country of Origin US America

1995 - 1998 Digital Equipment Corporation
1998 - 1999 Compaq Computer Corporation

Topic Usenet / Group Search

Region No Limitation

Technical functionalities
Usenet search
Fulltext search

Used SeEn AltaVista Usenet search

Older Version Internet Archive / WebCite

»Search messages in AltaVista's newsgroup archives.« Source

»Just as TracerLock can monitor up to five AltaVista Web searches, it also can handle up to five AltaVista Usenet searches. Again, the full capabilities of the advanced search syntax can be used. The date limit captures the recent postings, and AltaVista does have a separate database of Usenet postings from both DejaNews and« Source

1999: »:AltaVista still has a newsgroup archive and search engine (or, it did :within the last two weeks). However, it differs fundamentally from AltaVista quit adding usenet articles on July 18th. I believe the older articles have all been removed from the archive. There is some indication that within 6 months a different interface to usenet will become available from AltaVista. had a very good usenet article daily searching request system. AltaVista had the best search langauge against Usenet articles.

AltaVista still has a newsgroup archive and search engine (or, it did within the last two weeks). However, it differs fundamentally from (and always has, AFAIK) in that it does not keep messages indefinitely. I do not know what determines message retention at AltaVista. Generally, the AltaVista archive seems to go back somewhere between six months and a year. « Source


Critical points

Features & Functionality


References & further Publications

Wikipedia (EN):
Wikipedia (Others):

Other Sources

Old USENET / Netnews (pre-Dejanews) archives: discussion URL:!msg/alt.folklore.computers/Ny2V9WZ7zVg/niGKY0z36ywJ

Created: 2019-11-06