1996-01-13 - DEC AltaVista Closer To Commercialization [NOISE]

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Date: Sat, 13 Jan 1996 19:28:37 +0800
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Subject: DEC AltaVista Closer To Commercialization  [NOISE]
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Digital's Samuel H. Fuller, VP of corporate research for Digital, 
and Alan Jennings, Digital's manager of advanced technology 
business development, also told Newsbytes that Alta Vista has 
"re-started its Web crawling," to add even more pages to the 
total of 60 million Web pages -- representing half of all 
pages on the Web -- that were already indexed by December 15, 
when the new "super spider" Web facility opened to the public.  

"And as Alta Vista took off as the fastest growing Web site, we 
have quadrupled the capacity of our AlphaServer 8400 system from 
two to eight processors, and doubled the memory," noted Fuller.  

This leaves a "factor of two headroom" in terms of both 
processing power and memory, meaning that a single 8400 system 
should be able to host and accommodate an index for the entire 
Web, the VP added. The Alta Vista site also uses a smaller Alpha 
server to house the "super spider" itself.  

As reported in Newsbytes on December 15, Jennings previously said 
that Alta Vista is able to search up to 2.5 million Web pages a 
day. Lycos, Alta Vista's closest competitor, had searched only 7 
million Web pages up to that time, and the World Wide Web Worm 
about 3 million Web pages, in comparison to Alta Vista's 60 
million pages, Newsbytes was told.  

Alta Vista's high search speeds are made possible by the ability 
of the super spider to algorithmically "breed" batches of smaller 
Web crawlers, together with the use of Alpha processing power and 
high-speed ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) networks, according 
to Jennings.  

Fuller and Jennings told Newsbytes this week that Digital is 
currently assessing Alta Vista usage patterns and the half dozen- 
or-so "business inquiries" received each day to decide where to 
take Alta Vista on a commercial basis.  

On Friday, December 15, Alta Vista received 300,000 hits, a 
number that grew to 600,000 on Monday, December 18, 1.5 million 
by Wednesday, December 20, and 2 million per day following the 
December holidays, according to Fuller.  

In earlier beta testing, some 10,000 users employed Alta Vista to 
look up references to themselves and their families, to locate old 
friends and college roommates, and to access market research, 
information about the Web, and facts about corporate travel 

Like their counterparts within Digital, many Web users among the 
public at large have been employing Alta Vista for genealogically 
search purposes, Jennings said.  

Alta Vista is also emerging as "a real solid research tool 
covering the breadth of the Web," he asserted. In addition to 
obtaining an index of all Web sites containing a specified search 
term, and being able to move to those sites through hotlinks, 
users can obtain "reasonably good information regarding the 
characteristics of Web sites," such as "how frequently (the sites) 
are referenced, and the number of pointers."  

You can also employ can also employ case-sensitive matches, and 
limit searches to titles or other specified sections of a 

Digital officials have been impressed by Web users' "ingenuity" 
in inventing applications for Alta Vista. One company, for 
example, wanted to get in touch with all other firms with links 
to its site, he illustrated.  

Upon learning that Alta Vista is able to search for URLs (user 
resource locators), or pointers, the user conducted a URL search, 
and then proceeded to send out a broadcast e-mail message over 
the Internet to all linked sites.  

Business inquiries, he reported, have fallen into three main 
categories: users who want to use Alta Vista internally, license 
the search engine, or advertise their goods and services on the 
Alta Vista home page.  

"We'll start to make decisions on these within the next 30 days, 
and by the end of the quarter, (the decisions) will be part of 
our general business plans," Jennings told Newsbytes.  

"Digital is inching toward decisions on what they're going to 
do," pointed out Jim Green, an analyst at Summit Strategies.  

"Clearly, this Web site has met with astounding success. Alta 
Vista lets you start to make sense of the Internet. It makes you 
think about exactly what you want, because it will give you 
everything," the analyst told Newsbytes.  

"I see Alta Vista as a very useful tool for competitive 
analysis," observed Greg Kline, director, Network Integration and 
Management Research, at the Business Research Group (BRG).  

"I think that as Digital gets closer to finalizing their plans, 
they'll be speaking more about Alta Vista's most sophisticated 
search capabilities. And as Web servers become the corporate 
infrastructure through the "IntraNet,' users will be seeing the 
need for a tool to index their information assets," Kline told 
Newsbytes. You can access the Alta Vista home page on the Web at 
http://www.digital.com .