Posted by: Rob Hof on March 15, 2005
For years, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos has attended O’Reilly & Associates’ Emerging Technology conference for fun, but today he played demo god for the overflow audience in San Diego. …
After first accidentally restarting his personal computer while onstage, eliciting groans from the audience of tech wizards, he introduced an intriguing new feature on Amazon's search site A9.com. Basically, through a new A9 feature called OpenSearch, he's eliciting the denizens of the Web to contribute their own sources of specialized information that searchers can subscribe to much like they can subscribe to blogs.
Unlike the ultra-simple Google search site, A9 offers the ability to set up columns of specialized databases to search, such as its own Internet Movie Database, IMDB.com. By opening up A9's site to anyone who wants to create similar columns of specialized info, he hopes to allow people to create literally thousands of columns from which searchers can choose. "We want OpenSearch to do for search what RSS has done for content," he says. So instead of searching in Vioxx and seeing page after page of lawyers to sue on your behalf, you could search the PubMed medical literature and find info on Vioxx itself.
Like A9, it's clearly more complicated to use than Google, at least for now. There's a more detailed explanation here. But it looks like an interesting step toward making search much more useful and much more personal.