Ready, Fire, Aim! - Mihail's Public Blog: Amazon's launches A9.com search, yellow pages

Friday, February 11, 2005

Amazon's launches A9.com search, yellow pages

Amazon.com has launced a new twist to an old service, the Yellow Pages, which is a huge, huge business that my last company was focused on updating via rich media. But it is more than Yellow Pages...it is a new integrated search that lets you search . According to this Internetnews.com story on A9.com:

The new service from the Seattle-based Amazon.com, developed by its wholly owned search subsidiary A9, compiled 20 million photos of businesses in 10 major United States cities over a four month period, and now say they plan on adding more.

Using SUVs loaded with high-tech imaging gear, A9 sent drivers to 10 cities, covering "tens of thousands of miles," to map the streets and capture exterior images of local businesses.

"It took integrated GPS receivers, digital cameras, sophisticated geocoding software and a lot of driving," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO, in a statement. "But 20 million curb-side photographs later, A9.com Yellow Pages lets you see where you are going before you get there."

So why is A9.com so special? I tried it and it has potential although I wasn't able to find photos of any businesses I searched in San Francisco, Palo Alto or Boston -- three cities I've been in most recently. Here's what its website has to say:

The web is easy to use, but using it well is not easy. We are inventing new ways to take search one step farther and make it more effective. We provide a unique set of powerful features to find information, organize it, and remember it—all in one place. A9.com is a powerful search engine, using web search and image search results enhanced by Google, Search Inside the Book® results from Amazon.com, reference results from GuruNet, movies results from IMDb, and more.

A9.com remembers your information so you don’t have to. You can keep your own notes about any web page and search them; it is a new way to store and organize your bookmarks; it even recommends new sites and favorite old sites specifically for you to visit. With the A9 Toolbar installed your web browsing history will be saved so you can search through your whole history (and clear items you don’t want kept). A9.com uses your history to recommend new sites, to alert you to new search results, and to let you know the last time you visited a page.

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