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Yahoo's big breakup letter: AltaVista headlines out-of-favour services sent to death row

Alright, Yahoo properties, line up. Fantasy sports, step forward. Search? Take a step. Axis? Not so fast. As part of its ongoing efforts to trim the fat, Yahoo has announced that it's cutting a number of services throughout the months of June, July, and September. The moves comes as part of Yahoo's grand plan to "sharpen our focus and deliver experiences that enhance your daily lives," wrote executive vice president Jay Rossiter in a recent blog post.

This shouldn't come as a surprise for those who've been paying close attention to Yahoo in the oft-titled "Mayer era." As the Yahoo CEO put it in in an April earnings call, the company's going through its "second sprint" to "build beautiful products" – which is all well and good for innovation's sake, but also means that Yahoo is equally keen on analysing its current lineup and pulling the plug on less-desirable, less-used, or less-interesting projects and services. So what gets the cut this time around? Here are a few of the ones you might have heard of:


Buh-bye. A search engine that was once one of the web's most popular started fueling Yahoo's own search results in 1996. Yahoo ended up picking up the site as part of an acquisition of Altavista's owner, Overture Services, in 2003. Rumours abounded that Yahoo would kill the site in 2010, but the company decided to keep it alive – with Yahoo's search now fueling its results (technically, Bing's) – until 8 July of this year.

Yahoo Axis

The oft-touted series of browser plugins and mobile apps – browsers in their own right – were designed to enhance one's search experience by tying speedier, real-time results to one's queries, in addition to a ton of quickly generated contextual information about the specific element a person was searching for.

The downside? As explained by ReadWriteWeb's Jon Mitchell, the "convenience and speed" of all the real-time elements and contextual information Yahoo packed into Axis didn't actually make conventional searching that much faster. Worse, the service was a bit prejudicial:

"Axis privileges Yahoo's own services so much that people who don't use them will be frustrated. This is the same problem Google creates when it stuffs Google+ social features into its other services. People who already use and love Yahoo will be happy, but people who don't will have a worse experience," Mitchell wrote.

Yahoo BrowserPlus

Stay with us: BrowserPlus was designed to be a wraparound kind of browser plugin that would allow you to quickly and easily install other feature elements that a page would require – sans browser restart – so long as said page supported BrowserPlus. Basically, it was Yahoo's version of Google Gears, which the latter officially abandoned in 2011 within its Chrome browser.

Citizen Sports

Big on fantasy sports, social tie-ins, and mobile apps? Too bad; use Yahoo's primary offerings (like it's Yahoo Sports page, Fantasy Football page, or Yahoo Sports apps) instead of Citizen Sports, which the company picked up in 2010 for north of $40 million (£26.2m).


This plugin allowed users to control their media players from the comfort of their Web browsers. Starting 1 July, you'll have to hit up Yahoo Music for all of your, er, musical needs – or one of the squillion other plugins that allow you to rock out on your desktop or laptop via Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.

Yahoo! RSS Alerts

If you want up-to-the-minute information on a particular topic, Yahoo suggests you fill out a keyword news alert. At least that's one thing that the company has in common with Google: RSS hate. Even funnier, Yahoo RSS Alerts is being phased out on 1 July, the same day that Google Reader officially gets the axe. Brothers in arms? For an idea of where you might migrate, check our roundup of the best free RSS readers.