Here’s John Battelle on the latest from San Francisco-based company Alexa.
In short, Alexa, an Amazon-owned search company started by Bruce Gilliat and Brewster Kahle (and the spider that fuels the Internet Archive), is going to offer its index up to anyone who wants it (details are not up yet, but soon). Alexa has about 5 billion documents in its index – about 100 terabytes of data. It’s best known for its toolbar-based traffic and site stats, which are much debated and, regardless, much used across the web.
OK, step back, and think about that. Anyone can use Alexa’s index, to build anything. But wait, there’s more. Much…
Anyone can also use Alexa’s servers and processing power to mine its index to discover things – perhaps, to outsource the crawl needed to create a vertical search engine, for example. Or maybe to build new kinds of search engines entirely, or …well, whatever creative folks can dream up. And then, anyone can run that new service on Alexa’s (er…Amazon’s) platform, should they wish.
For perspective, here’s TechDirt:
It seems unlikely that this will be nearly as revolutionary as some are making it out to be, but hopefully it will nudge some of the search players into realizing that they can be much more powerful by turning themselves into platforms rather than destinations.