What happened to the AltaVista search engine?

Why doesn’t the AltaVista advanced web search engine seem to work right anymore? I type
“wav to text” AND NOT “speech”
and I get links with “text to wav” and “speech” highlighted. It seems to just look for anything in quotes like a keyword without regard to the logical operators. Their help page says what I typed should find “wav to text” but excluding any mention of “speech” and without regard to “text to wav”, and indeed that’s the way it used to work. There are zillions of references to “text to wav” and I don’t want them, just the other way 'round.

Another thing - why’d they get rid of the other box that let you rank (sort) the hits? So if you wanted to study baldness in mice you could use “mice” as the required term and rank sites according to how often they say “baldness”. This is very different from finding all the web sites that contain either term (which is what it seems to do now) and also gets you what you want much faster than listing all sites that contain both terms, even if in order of how many times either term appears.

It’s not just you.

Yes, Alta Vista’s Advanced Search has gone to hell in the proverbial handbasket.

I still go there by habit but I’ve mostly switched to alltheweb.com to do a boolean search.

Really sucks. I have no idea who is responsible.

This irks me about search engines in general – they try to use “natural language” rather than boolean logic, 'cos we’re not smart enough to understand boolean algebra.

In any case, av.com’s help seems to indicate that boolean searches are supposed to work. :dubious:

Thanks, guys - I feel better. I was afraid somebody would point out the big red checkbox marked “mess up searches” that I’m supposed to uncheck.

Boolean constructions are something a little too hard for general consumption, I guess. You know, they should have a basic search that does what this does, and a link to another page called Advanced Search that allows those who want to the ability to use booleans. Yeah, yeah, I’m being wry…
So it really is their fault!

They did things to the coding of their found set of results, too, something that made it stop working on some browsers. If you’re on a Mac, and have a copy of iCab handy, try doing an Alta Vista Advanced Search and then click on any of the links returned to you, and you’ll get an error message.

Of course iCab is way behind on the general-compatibility curve, but the shot-to-shitness of boolean search occurred around the same time.