As Google is well aware, AltaVista was once the #1 search engine in the world.
Launched in 1995, it had first-move advantage, for it was the first search engine to fully index the sites that it crawled, and it crawled a good portion of the web.
Where AltaVista failed is how easily it was the game by SEO experts. This was the era of meta keyword spam, invisible text and so on.
When Google arrived it offered a new factor – link popularity, as well as indexing much more of the web and handling spam better. AltaVista changed hands a few times before ending up at Yahoo ten years ago. In the last decade it hasn’t provided anything unique, and has just been a legacy landing page. Anyone who was thinking they still used “AltaVista” needs to move on… because AltaVista.com now redirects to Yahoo!