December 15, 1983: AltaVista Launches
1995 – At the turn of the Internet age, researchers at Digital Equipment Corporation, led by Paul Flaherty, Louis Monier and Michael Burrows, created a web crawler and indexer algorithm. The web program was launched on December 15th and called “AltaVista”. The name was chosen because of the surrounds of their company in Palo Alto, CA.
The original name was altavista.digital.com and used a multi-threaded crawler (Scooter). The back-end was running on advanced hardware, therefore it could gather information faster than any other web crawling software out there.
AltaVista was one of the top search engines out there until Google overtook them all. Ultimately, in 2003 AltaVista was purchased by Yahoo! who continued to run it until 2013 when it was shut down.
1983 – There is some debate whether this happened on Dec. 15h or 31st. If you were a citizen of Twin Falls, Idaho and up at 1 AM watching KMVT channel 11, then you got a treat. You saw an ad that changed the Superbowl. You saw an ad that changed a computer company.That’s right. You were the first to see the famous 1984 Superbowl Advertisement for Apple Macintosh. The Chiat/Day advertising company pre-ran ads to make sure they would be acceptable for a big release. Therefore, 1 AM on Thursday, December 15th – chances of people catching the ad are slim.
Of course, the ad went on to be one of the most influential ads of the 20th century and turned Superbowl commercials into a hot commodity. Interesting note: Apple didn’t put a commercial in the 2012 Superbowl.
This Day in Tech History podcast show notes for December 15