Deep 6 for A9 Features

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 03, 2006

hm_logo_a9.gif

Amazon.com is throwing in the towel on at least some features of its A9 search site, a perennial underformer in the search engine wars. Its Yellow Pages, with millions of photos of local streets and businesses that made the feature unique, are gone, and the handy toolbar is no more. So is the ability to keep a history of your searches. And you won’t be able to get a discount on Amazon for using A9 anymore.

Too bad. I liked that photo feature, I really liked the discount, and I used the toolbar, though not as much as Google’s. But the biggest problem for my own usage was A9’s decision to go with Microsoft for the underlying search. Maybe it’s just me, but my searches on A9 take very annoying extra fractions of a second to even come up, and then they’re simply not as relevant as Google’s.

I guess it was never clear what A9 was going to do for Amazon, especially if it wasn’t going to make it on its own. I still think the remaining ability to search in a variety of data sources is appealing, though it doesn’t look like many people are going to take the trouble.

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Reader Comments

Z. D . Smith

October 3, 2006 09:54 AM

Your biggest problem was my biggest problem, too. When they had Google content in there, the 1-2-3 immediate punch of Google, Google Images and Wikipedia was the best anywhere. I was a happy user, I dug the discount, and what's more, I was an evangelist; other people, even non-tech types, had never heard of a9 but loved the idea of it. (Another nice feature -- the url for any search was simply http://a9.com/{string}) It seems like they simply didn't give this project the resources it needed. The blog hadn't been updated since April (ie, no explanation of yanking Google content).

It was an awful shame, because when it was at its peak, it was the best search engine on the web.

JohnJ

October 5, 2006 10:37 AM

I never used A9, because of privacy concerns. Amazon.com knows my name and address, and it's none of their business what I search for on the Internet. I didn't want my Internet searches to be part of an Amazon.com marketing database about me.

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