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Alexa Upgrades For Internet Explorer

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Alexa Upgrades For Internet Explorer

From The Search Engine Report
June 2, 1999

Alexa has released a new version of its free navigation and site information tool for Internet Explorer. Designed for especially for IE5, it adds new information and additional options than previous versions.

By default, Alexa information will appear vertically in a pane along the left-hand side of your screen. You'll see six categories of information presented, with a + symbol next to each of them. Clicking on the + symbol "opens" the category to reveal detailed information. Here's a summary of what each category shows.

+ Contact Info shows who owns the web site, as drawn from domain registration records. New links also display a map to the company's address and city information for where it is located.

+ Site Stats provides a look at what Alexa users think of it, freshness and speed estimates, links to any reviews from Yahoo Internet Life and the Britannica Internet Guide, and the ability to retrieve an older version of the page from the Alexa archives.

+ Related Links has always been at the heart of Alexa. Here, it shows you sites that it considers to be similar in topic or content to the site you are viewing. If you already run IE5, this portion of Alexa is already built-in. Just choose Tools from the menu options, then select Show Related Links.

+ News shows any financial news for publicly-held companies.

+ Reference provides the ability to query reference sites such as the Britannica Internet Guide or Merriam-Webster online dictionary and thesaurus.

+ Search is a new feature that allows direct access to search HotBot, Yahoo or AltaVista.

Don't overlook some key data at the top and bottom of the pane. At the top, you'll be shown Alexa's traffic estimate for the site, and any site reviews submitted by Alexa users are also available. If you click on the Alexa logo, you'll be treated to a special "insiders" page that shows interesting web statistics. For instance, 1 in every 28 page views on the Web is a search results page, Alexa says.

At the bottom, there's the ability to view site data in a single page report. Webmasters, at the bottom of this form, you'll find options to edit the contact data listed for your site or to suggest related links.

I find the last option in the pane, "About the data," to be more useful than the single page report. It shows the site's key data on a single page, supplemented with explanations about what the data means and where it comes from.

Other enhancements include the ability to keep Alexa from automatically loading when you start your browser, which was a pain in the old version. Just go into the last category, Help, and set the Auto-Launch option to OFF. After doing this, you'll have to start Alexa by going to the View menu option, then select Explorer Bar, then select either Alexa Vertical or Alexa Horizontal.

The Alexa Horizontal option puts Alexa information along the bottom of your browser window, with each category available through a tab like interface. A small button at the top of the vertical display, or at the left of the horizontal display, lets you easily toggle between these display options.

Alexa for IE is an extremely fast and easy download. Within 30 seconds, you'll have it running within your browser. I'd say it's a must add due to the wealth of extra information that it can provide about a site, especially as you no longer always have to have it switched on. Although designed for Internet Explorer 5, it also works with IE4. Versions for Netscape, IE3 and the Mac are also available.

Alexa
http://www.alexa.com/

Click on the big download link to get Alexa for IE4/5.

Alexa: Systems Requirements/Other Versions
http://www.alexa.com/download/system_reqs.html

Not running IE4/5? Visit the Systems Requirements page, then scroll down and choose the browser platform of your choice. AOL users should also read this page before trying to install Alexa.

Internet Explorer 5 Makes Search Easier
The Search Engine Report, April 5, 1999
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/99/04-ie5.html

Learn about other ways to enhance IE5 for searching the web or how to make better use of its built-in assistants.

Amazon details its shopping habits
News.com, May 13, 1999
http://news.com/News/Item/0,4,36537,00.html

Amazon's not saying why it acquired Alexa in April, so analysts make their own guesses.


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