Alexa Embraces Web Developers

    December 13, 2005
    WebProNews Staff’s Alexa unit has been turned into a web service, to allow developers API access to the search engine’s database.

Compared to search giants like Google and Yahoo, the Alexa search engine doesn’t have the same name recognition to Internet users. As of today, Alexa does have an openness to third-party developers that Alexa hopes to turn into greater usage and visibility for its service.

Anyone who wishes to sign up for an Alexa account and agree to the consumption fees (processor, bandwidth, and data storage) can have access to Alexa’s index. The benefit comes to developers who want access to specialized content, Alexa CEO Bruce Gilliat told the Wall Street Journal.

The report cited as an example of a site benefiting from Alexa’s new service. lets people search for music by its melody. Alexa’s new openness has allowed the site’s developer, Rainer Typke, to grow his melody index to 1,000 songs.

Alexa product manager Geoffrey Mack blogged about the difficulties developers would face if they tried to build a search engine from the ground up, in terms of time and expense. “Now, for less than the cost of an iPod, they can get into the search field and begin inventing and creating,” Mack wrote. He posted a summary of the service:

•  Three online web snapshots of up to 100 terabytes each
•  Powerful tools to sift through the content to create your own data set
•  Upload, compile and run your own programs on a processing cluster across the data set
•  Store your output on a storage cluster
•  Integrate your data into a search index
•  Access your new search via Amazon Web Services

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.