by CIO Staff

Amazon: Web for Rent

Dec 15, 20051 min

Amazon is challenging search engine giants Google and Yahoo by giving programmers a chance to rent a copy of the Internet, reports today.

Through its Web search subsidiary Alexa, Amazon is letting anyone with a basic knowledge of programming search 4.5 billion Web pages from more than 16 million websites for any reason. Prices for the service start at $1 per processor per hour to crunch the data.

Industry experts say Alexa’s move could change the search industry because, so far, the cost of setting up a global infrastructure to scan and index the Web has been prohibitive, the BBC reports. Alexa said that running searches via a copy of the entire Web should cost a few thousand dollars. Users will pay for the amount of computer processors they use to crunch through the data by gigabyte of storage they need and how much data they have processed.

The move comes as a challenge to Google and Yahoo, which do give coders access to their Internet data but only via closely controlled programming interfaces. Alexa said it expects interest from entrepreneurs who want to use Web search systems for their own applications or services.

–Susannah Patton