I have been playing with Alexa and Compete data for awhile this evening and was struck by a thought. Many of the complaints I hear about the inaccuracy of user data from the aforementioned services comes from the limited audience sizes, inability to de-duplicate users who work on multiple machines, and a host of other problems.
Despite my love for Firefox and Safari, Internet Explorer still is the dominant web browser platform worldwide for most users. I think it would be interesting if Microsoft were to use its position in the browser market to drive deeper into analytics. They could build in a simple Alexa-like toolbar that would send back anonymized info about where IE users go on the web. Would it be invasive? Sure, but no more invasive (from a privacy standpoint) than just about any other toolbar out there designed to track user behavior. Would there be anti-competitive concerns? Absolutely. In spite of all that, however, I think it would be really interesting to have a more credible source for web usage data than what we have today.
This is one area where I do think Microsoft could use its existing assets to actually do something interesting on the Internet.