Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Alexa Web Search Platform Beta

Here are some highlights from a recent WSJ article.

An Amazon.com Inc. unit plans to allow software and Web developers to request customized data searches when it scans the Web to seek new information, something that other commercial search engines generally don't allow.

Alexa Chief Executive Bruce Gilliat said its new service will give developers access to specialized content, let them create more exciting applications and, in some cases, alleviate potential work for start-up companies.

For instance, someone who wanted to build a podcasting search engine could use Alexa's tools and computers to request specialized audio files that were newly available on the Web. That would allow the entrepreneur to spend more time coming up with a way to search for relevant podcasts, Mr. Gilliat said.

Rainer Typke, a 31-year-old Ph.D. student in the Netherlands, developed a search engine that lets Internet users identify music knowing only the melody and has already been using Alexa's new service. With it, he has been able to significantly expand the number of melodies on his Web site, musipedia.org, to 1,000 with very little labor, Mr. Typke said. People who use his Web site to identify certain songs will find keywords so they can name that tune and, if interested, follow links to buy relevant music CDs on Amazon's Web site. Mr. Typke receives a commission when a visitor to his Web site makes a purchase on Amazon's.

Check out: Amazon Revs Its Search Engine

Why does this matter? With Amazon's Beta, anybody can create new search services without having to invest millions of dollars in crawl, storage, processing, search and server technology. End result? Expect lots more searchengine apps on the horizon for '06.

Digability rating: Alexa Web Search Platform Beta is something I will keep an eye on.

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