Unofficially obsessed with Google.


Does Alexa's Web Search Platform threaten Google?

12/13/2005 06:00:00 PM
Richard MacManus astutely posits that the opening of Alexa's backend API to developers will probably have little to no effect on Google's share of the web. To remain competitive with the freedom allowed to Alexa developers, however, MacManus recommends that Google move toward loosening its API restrictions to developers. web2.0blog wonders what new tools the Alexa opportunity will inspire. And in a plea for adding usefulness rather than just a competing search applicance: "If you think that the service is just good for creating mini-search engines then you will probably fail in creating anything successful."

Speaking of Alexa v. Google, I use a Firefox extension called GooglePreview which places relevant website preview thumbnails provided by Alexa next to each Google result. While GooglePreview is nowhere near as powerful a solution as could be created by mining Alexa's new data resource, it certainly is an example of an instance in which Alexa's data could be tooled to create an apparatus ultimately more useful than Google's search. (This is not to say that Google couldn't quickly provide this thumbnail service itself, just pointing out a difference between the two resources.)

In sum, this should just fuel Google to produce "something better." What that something will be, and even what contenders Alexa's platform offers will be quite the exciting time in search development.

Update! A few hours after the Alexa announcement, the Official Google Blog had this to say: "Oh yeah? Well, build your own Google homepage." Pretty quick announcement (and not many apps to show for it) for the Google Homepage API and a very speedy (semi-response) to the increased developer capabilities recently announced by Alexa. The best app so far? "Eyes" that follow your mouse cursor around. Not that there's anything useful about that. Should be interesting to see where these "widgets" will go. (Yes, I just referenced Yahoo's new widgets. More on those in the next post...)

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