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Amazon Analytics?

Another bit of spillover from this month’s newsletter… I just saw a blog post from Quentin Hardy over at the New York Times Bits blog. Writing about a possible Amazon analytics product, he speculates:

“Specialists in data science say the company has become increasingly interested in the business models of firms that make and sell pattern-finding algorithms for extremely large data sets. They theorize that Amazon wants to move beyond its cloud services businesses — which rents data storage and raw computing power — and add to these offerings analysis software that can be rented, and possibly modified, to suit a company’s needs…

It would not be difficult for Amazon to offer such a service, since many of the company’s major products are already on Amazon Web Services, and other legacy applications are being moved there. That means that data management tools like Map Reduce (currently a feature in Amazon Web Services), payment security and fraud detection software, and Amazon’s product recommendation engine could all be in the system.

While prices are dropping for the predictive and analytic software offered by the likes of SAS and EMC, the products are generally considered somewhat expensive. Amazon could remove the higher-value proprietary features from its software and sell a cheap simplified version, in the way Google created its Google Analytics Web site service in order to increase the attractiveness of its advertising-based business.”

This reminds me of a book I read three years ago (wow, has it been that long already?) called The Numerati, by Stephen Baker, which is about a new breed of companies that gather and analyze massive amounts of data—the stuff we create at work, shopping, voting, communicating, and even dating. It’s a fascinating book, and certainly eye-opening in terms of the scope of information (about you) that is available today to companies of all kinds. So, yes, that means a whole new industry is growing, comprised of companies that can help other companies make sense of all that data.

It’s interesting that Hardy imagines Amazon might want to create a solution on the level of Google Analytics. I take this to mean sub-enterprise level, as in not necessarily just for individuals, but for small businesses, too. That would certainly be something, but given the route Google has taken with its Analytics tool, I wonder what will distinguish a possible Amazon offering as far as resiliency is concerned.

Zeitgeist alert! Just fyi, the Wall Street Journal also just posted a story on this—on the industry of big data.

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