Wow. John Battelle breaks a story about Alexa (owned by Amazon) opening up their index of 5 billion pages to developers to create whatever they want through the use of web services.
Not only can you use all that data, you can use their storage and server processing power to run your applications. Of course there is a cost, along the lines of $1 for every CPU hour you use, $1 per GB of user storage, $1 per GB downloaded, and $1 for every 4,000 web requests.
What does this mean? It means a lot. Creative people are going to be able to create some amazing things very quickly with this. Take a look at the digital camera photos search they Alexa has up as an example application.
Vertical search plays such as their photos search are the first things that come to mind, but all that data and processor power are going to open up some things.
To quote their user guide:
By making use of these utilities, a user might introduce a great new search service to the world with nothing more than a home computer. The data processing and service publication can all be done on the Platform.
It has major SEO implications since you can use it to analyze linking structure between top sites.
Also, as John points out, this could raise Amazon’s search profile, and cause Google or Yahoo to start thinking about what they allow with their indexes and processing power. Very, very interesting.