||Alexa makes Web sites talk|
Alexa is a browsing agent that works with your Web browser, providing it with some interesting new options. Want to have more information about the site you are currently visiting ? Then Alexa is the agent that you need.
Developed by the company of the same name, Alexa is an agent that will help you during your surf. Once downloaded and installed, this software component integrates with your browser (you must have Internet Explorer) in the form of a new toolbar.
Three options are available...
Alexa appears in each new browser window, offering three main functions:
- Information about the site
- Web Search
- Shopping guide
Alexa’s main interest is the first of these features, although the editor promotes all three features equally. When you want to find out more about the site you are currently visiting, Alexa is the agent that gives the information that you are looking for. Once the site is loaded, Alexa provides you with:
- A selection of related links to other sites that have a similar theme to the one you are viewing.
- Contact information : the name, address and phone number of the site editor (company or person).
- The number of links that appear on the site.
- A traffic ranking based on Alexa users’ visits.
- Information on page display speed.
- Financial information for listed companies.
You also have access to Alexa users’ opinions about the site, useful for getting an idea of what other people think about it.
By using the Search option you can search for information on the World Wide Web (a non-simultaneous search on a dozen search engines), a product (forwarded to “Mysimon” shopbot) or reference sites (dictionaries, on-line thesaurus). The shopping option suggests products (based on your navigation) on amazon.com as well as a price comparison with Mysimon.com.
... but only one is essential
Nonetheless, Alexa’s real interest lies in what it tells you about visited websites, providing comprehensive information at a glance. The Related Links feature is very helpful, as you can rapidly find interesting sites dealing with similar subjects… Even though you sometimes get curious results, such as “French textiles” as a related link to google.fr, this option often helps you discover sites you really need to know about!
* NB : Internet Explorer 5.0 has a little bug which makes the installation of many additional components impossible. If this is the case, you will need to install a more recent version : 5.01 or above.