AltaVista May Leave Users Searching
Searching for a Web page that was created after mid-April this year? Better not try any of the 22 regional AltaVista search sites.
No new Web pages have been added for months to the index behind the regional search sites, AltaVista confirmed on Tuesday. The local sites are supposed to generate search results relevant for Web users in a specific country. By default, all local sites search in the regional index.
AltaVista, which went online in 1995 as the
AltaVista says the index is outdated because the database that holds the regional URLs is being merged with the main international database.
"In April we started the process of merging the one physical index that holds all the 22 regional subindexes with the international index. You have to stop adding URLs if you are doing a merge," says Ian Hegerty, technical architect for AltaVista.
Ultimately the merger of the two indexes should result in a better search service, but the new Web index won't be ready for about another month, according to Hegerty. He also says that the database merger is not related to AltaVista's restructuring or to the closure of several of its international offices.
"This is a consolidation exercise, but the justification is technical, to improve user experience. The regional indexes will be back and much better than before. It should take between two and four weeks for the new regional indexes to be online," says Hegerty.
AltaVista sees no reason to alert Web users or administrators who might be wondering why after four months a Web site has appeared in AltaVista's international index, but still can't be found using the regional search service, he says.
"Most Web masters are aware that indexing pages takes time. Typically we update every six weeks. Now we've skipped a cycle because of the merge," says Hegerty. He offers no comment when it is pointed out that more than one cycle has been skipped, as it has been more than four months since new pages were added to the regional indexes.
AltaVista has local sites for Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.