Yahoo To Sunset AltaVista, Axis, RSS Alerts, and Nine Other Products, Some As Soon As Today



Yahoo under Marissa Mayer is taking a page from her old employer, Google, and sunsetting 12 products, with some starting as soon as today. Included are AltaVista and other search products like its experimental Axis search extension, as part of “an ongoing effort to sharpen our focus and deliver experiences that enhance your daily lives,” in the words of Jay Rossiter, EVP of platforms.

That’s right. Now, we can finally write, “Hasta la vista, AltaVista.” :(

To be fair, I’m not sure who has been using AltaVista all that much, or many of these other services. In any case, it’s a sign of the company getting more focused and cutting down fat, as it makes way for what I hope are a new set of cool products based on all the many talented acqui-hires and straight-out product acquisitions that it’s made over the last several months.

Here is the full list, with the shutdown dates:

Yahoo! Axis (June 28, 2013). Yahoo says the browser plug-in will no longer work; the app will, but will no longer be maintained and updated. “We encourage you to use the Yahoo! Search app for iOS and Android.”

Yahoo! Browser Plus (June 28, 2013). No explanations here but a suggestion to visit this list of other Yahoo-based browser extensions for developers.

Citizen Sports (June 28, 2013). Looks like Yahoo will be merging some of that content into its wider Yahoo! Sports portal, where it also posts Fantasy Football games.

Yahoo! WebPlayer (June 30, 2013). The player will no longer load after the end of this month on sites where this is embedded. “Your users will continue to be able to play media files using native browser support,” Rossiter notes. If you were among the people trying to use the Yahoo Media player to watch Mayer’s announcement for Yahoo’s new New York headquarters, you’ll know that this is no great loss. At all.

FoxyTunes (July 1, 2013). Again, as with sports, this service is shutting down for consolidation of into another yahoo property, in this case, Yahoo! Music.

Yahoo! RSS Alerts (July 1, 2013). Yahoo gets its own RSS shut-down, too, on the same day as Google Reader. “To continue to get the latest content that you care about, you can subscribe to Keyword News alerts at our Yahoo! Alerts and receive them via email,” the company notes.

Yahoo! Neighbors Beta (July 8, 2013). So much for hyperlocal expansion. “You can visit Yahoo! Local Search to find out what’s going on in your neighborhood,” Yahoo writes.

AltaVista (July 8, 2013). This is a later closure date, although as noted before, usage is not particularly high these days. It wasn’t always this way, of course: AltaVista is one of earliest search engines, first opening for business in 1995 and taking an early lead in the portal space. It was well overtaken by Google a few years after that. In 2003, it was bought by Overture, which was bought by Yahoo in the same year. Over the last few years, pieces of AltaVista have been migrating to Yahoo technology, including the core search algorithms themselves, which direct to Yahoo searches once you go beyond altavista.com, so swapping the branding over is, in a sense, just the last formality. “Please visit Yahoo! Search for all of your searching needs,” Rossiter writes today.

Yahoo! Stars India (July 25, 2013). Yahoo now points users to Yahoo! India OMG!.

Yahoo! Downloads Beta (July 31, 2013). Yahoo! Downloads will no longer support 3rd party downloads. It will continue to offer downloads of Yahoo! products like Yahoo! Toolbar or Yahoo! Messenger.

Yahoo! Local API (September 28, 2013). Another move away from local and mapping — or at least away from legacy products trying to serve that need. Yahoo says local API documentation is also getting removed from the developer portal.

Yahoo! Term Extraction API (September 28, 2013). This is not getting turned off, but Yahoo will be stopping direct access to it. This service lets developers input a very large amount of text, and the algorithm can be tweaked to parse that text for specific terms or phrases. Sounds a little like Summly, and we don’t yet know how Yahoo plans to use what it’s picked up in that deal; maybe this could provide a clue.

My colleague Greg Kumparak suggests that the longer timeframe for the Term Extraction API could have to do with needing to have more time to try to contact developers using the product, especially if it hasn’t been updated in a while and those developers are not actively in contact with Yahoo. Yahoo writes that if developers, as of September 28, are already using the Term Extraction API via YQL, they will not need to do anything; those who are not are being encouraged to migrate to YQL.

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