Yesterday, Amazon officially launched its search service, called A9. Compared to the sparse interface of Google, A9’s looks a little more complicated. Instead of simply trying to mimic Google like Microsoft has done with its new search engine, Amazon has taken a totally different approach to internet searching. The real power of A9 is realized when you login with your Amazon username. After logging in, A9 will keep a running history of every search you have ever performed through the site and, if you install the A9 Toolbar, will also keep track of every page you visit. While this may sound a little creepy, and the tinfoil hat crowd will surely object, A9 can do some pretty amazing things with this data. Based on what you search for and the sites you visit, A9 will “discover” other sites that you will probably find interesting. This sounds strikingly similar to Amazon’s “recommendations” feature, and I’m fairly certain that same technology is running in the background here.
I have to admit that I’m a big fan of Google and that I really like the simplicity of the services they offer. Gmail, for example, is remarkably intuitive and easy to use. The same goes for its flagship search engine. At this point, I don’t see A9 overtaking Google at any point in the near future. I do, however, give Amazon create for pushing internet search in a new direction. A9 will very likely gain a loyal following among the “advanced searcher” niche, of which I am one. So, for the time being, I’ll divide my time between Google and A9, and let you know what I think after more use.
More information about A9:
- Business 2.0 – Watch Out Google! Amazon Gets Search
- Slashdot – Amazon’s A9: How Well Is the Hype Justified?