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Yahoo shutting down AltaVista, Axis search tool, and other services in coming days

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As part of an ongoing attempt to streamline and reinvent the company, Yahoo has announced that it will be shutting down 12 products in the coming days and months. Among other things, that means that once-popular search engine AltaVista will be shutting down for good on July 8th. AltaVista, which became part of Yahoo nearly a decade into its life in 2003, was a major search destination before Google rose to dominance. Now, Yahoo asks users to "please visit Yahoo! Search for all of your searching needs."

Besides AltaVista, Yahoo is shutting down a number of services that never quite caught on. That includes Yahoo WebPlayer (which won't work after June 30th), RSS alerts (which will be replaced by email alerts on July 1st), and Axis, a search app and plugin that was just launched last year. Axis came out shortly before Marissa Mayer stepped up as Yahoo CEO, so it's not surprising to see the company cleaning house under her direction. "We're shutting down a few products so we can continue to focus on creating beautiful products that are essential to you every day," reads a post announcing the news.

When Google announced its "spring cleaning" shutdown of Google Reader, millions despaired. Most of these services won't inspire much grief — several of them, including sports and celebrity sites, were superseded by similar Yahoo offerings already. Anyone who remembers a pre-Google web, though, will likely shed a tear for AltaVista. Sure, Yahoo acquired Tumblr as part of its new direction. But does that really make up for our loss?