Amazon is shutting down Alexa internet-tracking service

·2 min read
Explainer Amazon Web Service Outage (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Explainer Amazon Web Service Outage (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Amazon is shutting down Alexa, its internet-tracking service that is unconnected to the identically named voice assistant.

With the full name Alexa Internet, the service tracks how popular websites are by monitoring traffic as users navigate around. It does so with software that is installed on a small number of web browsers, or when websites decide to install that software on their website themselves.

That information is used to pull rankings of the world’s most popular websites, though they are not always reliable given the way the information is pulled together. Nonetheless, it has become a useful way of gauging the popularity of websites when their owners might not reveal that information, and is used on Wikipedia and other sources.

But it will now be shut down, Amazon said. It had made the “difficult decision to retire” the service from May, although it is no longer possible to buy new subscriptions already.

It gave no information about why the service was being retired.

“After two decades of helping you find, reach, and convert your digital audience, we’ve made the difficult decision to retire Alexa.com on May 1, 2022,” it said. “Thank you for making us your go-to resource for content research, competitive analysis, keyword research, and so much more.”

Alexa Internet is less well known than the voice assistant that lives in the Echo, but is actually older. It was founded 25 years ago and bought by Amazon a few years later.

The two names are not thought to be linked, though they share an inspiration. Amazon has said that the Alexa name was chosen in part because the “x” sound is easier to recognise; both Alexa Internet and the voice assistant are said to have been named partly in reference to the Library of Alexandria.

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