How Yahoo Search Began

Yahoo, the closest rival to Google in Internet Search, was originally built as a web directory (like the Open Directory Project Dmoz) by 2 Stanford graduate students David Filo and Jerry Yang in January of 1994. As a web directory, Yahoo’s content was organized in a hierarchy rather than a searchable index of pages.

Yahoo’s IPO

Yahoo was incorporated on March 12, 1995, had the initial public offering on April 12, 1996, and raised $33.8 million by selling 2.6 million shares at $13 each.

History of Yahoo’s Search Algorithms

Yahoo search algorithm was launched in February 2004. The old Yahoo search results were powered by Google’s search algorithm.

Just before 2003, Yahoo acquired several search technology companies and integrated the search technologies into Yahoo’s search engine:

  • Yahoo bought Inktomi, an organic search engine (with the Inkomi search algorithm), for $235 million in July 2003
  • Yahoo acquired Overture, the first PPC search engine, for $1.6 billion, with Overture-owned search engines AltaVista and AllTheWeb.

Inktomi’s introduction in Wikipedia:

Inktomi Corporation was a California company that provided software for Internet service providers. It was founded in 1996 by UC Berkeley professor Eric Brewer and graduate student Paul Gauthier. The company was initially founded based on the real-world success of the search engine they developed at the university. After the bursting of the dot-com bubble, Inktomi was acquired by Yahoo!

Wikipedia’s brief introduction on Overture:

Overture Services, Inc., an Internet search engine company acquired by Yahoo! to provide Yahoo! Search Marketing products.

Yahoo Slurp

Inktomi’s search engine spider went on to become Yahoo’s new search engine spider, Yahoo Slurp. Yahoo Slurp is responsible to crawl the World Wide Web’s content which are then stored in Yahoo’s search engine index.

  • Yahoo Slurp created a shared database which is used to power Yahoo Search, AltaVista, AllTheWeb, and Inktomi powered partner sites.
  • Yahoo’s search results are the results of the best breed of search results powered by AltaVista, AllTheWeb, and Inktomi.

Wikipedia’s introduction about AltaVista:

AltaVista is a web search engine owned by Yahoo!. AltaVista was once one of the most popular search engines but its popularity declined with the rise of Google.

Wikipedia’s introduction on AllTheWeb:

AlltheWeb is an Internet search engine that made its debut in mid-1999. It grew out of FTP Search, Tor Egge’s doctorate thesis at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, which he started in 1994, which in turn resulted in the formation of Fast Search and Transfer, established on July 16, 1997. It was used primarily as a showpiece site for FAST’s enterprise search engine.

Yahoo, a Web Portal, Web Media, Search Engine

Yahoo is still the most visited website in the world, according to Alexa. Most Internet users today still think Yahoo is a web portal, but not a search-focused company like Google:


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