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AltaVista's ego is as big as the Goodyear blimp

Everyone knows the Internet has enlivened expressions of individuality--personal web pages, email sig files, and personal domain names--but one of the most egotistical Net phenomena has got to be the vanity search.

Everyone knows the Internet has enlivened expressions of individuality--personal web pages, email sig files, and personal domain names--but one of the most egotistical Net phenomena has got to be the vanity search. If you haven't done a vanity search before, go ahead and try it now: Zip over to HotBot, AltaVista, or another beefy Net search engine, type in your name, and see what the Web has to say about you.

There are risks to vanity searching though, especially for ye of the fragile ego: you may not find yourself anywhere.

If search engines had egos, AltaVista would rank well behind its competitors. Still, the Net searcher is literally high on itself, as millions of fans who watched the final game of the World Series last Saturday learned. Instead of the ubiquitous Goodyear blimp, the AltaVista Onsite Computing Airship floated above New York as the Yankees trounced the Braves.

Apparently, Goodyear's zepplin was out of commission after storms pelted the East Coast last week and the Fuji blimp couldn't fill in. Just as Fox TV execs started to freak out about not getting any aerial shots of the game, AltaVista stepped in with its dirigible, which is slowly creeping its way across the country to a tiny event in Las Vegas called Comdex.

The blimp is a fitting symbol for AltaVista. While DEC is mired in a thick sludge of red ink, the company's search group is eager to break free and may do its own IPO early next year, according to my spies.

Non sequiturs-are-us: I'm hearing rumblings that Netscape may fill out a critical gap in its Internet strategy with a version of Navigator for, that's right, Amiga. A beta of the browser could be out by year's end, though it will require newer Amiga hardware and software, according to my operatives. Maybe only journalists do vanity searches, since we're both vain and paranoid. Cheer me up by sending me a tip.