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Amazon's Search Engine Goes Live 402

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the everyone-is-getting-into-the-game dept.
fjordboy writes "John Battelle has posted a discussion and review of Amazon's new search engine: a9.com. From the article:"What makes this particularly noteworthy is that A9 is built quite literally on top of Google. In short, Amazon has taken the best of Google, and made it, to my mind, a lot better. Sound familiar? Yup, it's what Google did to Yahoo, Yahoo to Netscape...you get the picture." "
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Amazon's Search Engine Goes Live

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  • Ads (Score:5, Funny)

    by panxerox (575545) * on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:06PM (#8864486)
    Hmm Google - a search engine that displays ads, Amazon - an ad that displays searches, oh yeah that's gonna rock.
    • Re:Ads (Score:5, Informative)

      by SphericalCrusher (739397) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:23PM (#8864667) Homepage Journal
      Google built on top of Yahoo? What? They both use two different ways to search the internet.

      Yahoo with its meta tags and Google with its linkback system makes them two different search engines.
      • what they may do is not the same as how they may do it
      • Re:Ads (Score:5, Funny)

        by plumpy (277) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:57PM (#8864979) Homepage
        Google built on top of Yahoo? What? They both use two different ways to search the internet.

        You're being too interpretive with it. The poster clearly said it was quite literally on top. This obviously means that the Amazon servers are directly above the Google servers, which are directly above the Yahoo servers, which are directly above the Netscape servers.

        Oh, unless it's yet another misuse of the word "literally" to mean "metaphorically". I guess we'll never know.
        • Re:Ads (Score:3, Informative)

          by forevermore (582201)
          Actually, look at the search results. In both of my test searches ("1u server" and "blade server"), the results are identical with those from google. So in this case, I'm pretty sure that "on top of" means that they're not only using Google's engine for searching, they're also using Google's databases.
        • Re:Ads (Score:3, Funny)

          by Xel (84370)
          And on top of all THAT is a floor where no elevator goes, and no stair can reach. Opening any door triggers THE BOMB.

          One system built upon another...

      • Re:Ads (Score:3, Informative)

        by Andrewkov (140579)
        On the front page there is a link, "7 reasons to use A9". Check the last point:

        Search Inside the Book(TM): In addition to web search results we present book results from Amazon.com that include Search Inside the Book. When you see an excerpt on any of the book results, click on the page number to see the actual page from that book. (You will need to be registered at Amazon.com.)

        Adjustable Columns: Simply drag the boundaries between the columns either to the left or the right to change their width of the
  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:06PM (#8864487) Homepage Journal
    From the 7 Reasons to Use A9.com [a9.com]:

    Search History: All your searches at A9.com are stored on our servers and shown to you at any time from any computer you use. Clicking on a link performs the search again. You can hide the window at any time and a password will be required to open it again. You can edit your history, for example, to hide an entry.

    Click History: If any of the web search results include a site that you have seen before, it's marked on the result. We even tell you the last time you visited that site.


    You don't have to be among the tin-foil hat crowd to have a low regard for this "feature". There are just some searches that you *don't* want to remember.

    It's not a stretch to imagine a situation like this:

    Boss: "Google me some info on our competitors."

    Lackey: "Check out this new A9.com search!"

    Boss: "What's that link there? I didn't know you were interested in goats... [Click] Damn! You're fired!"
    • by ackthpt (218170) * on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:14PM (#8864591) Homepage Journal
      Boss: "What's that link there? I didn't know you were interested in goats... [Click] Damn! You're fired!"

      As if you couldn't find history in Mozilla...

      Could be worse, could be the boss turns to you and winks.

      what's their plan... track most popular searches, keep a cookie full of it, suggest these fine things the next time you go to Amazon.com... could even help them anticipate what to carry [We need to carry ... goats?] as if their marketing data isn't already legion...

    • by MrBlue VT (245806) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:18PM (#8864617) Homepage
      Yeah, the fact that they don't provide direct links to the pages also throws my paranoia into overdrive. This is the link that you get when you search for Slashdot:
      http://a9.com/-/search/a9-redirect.jsp?url=http:// slashdot.org/&title=%26lt%3Bb%26gt%3BSlashdot%26lt %3B%2Fb%26gt%3B%3A+News+for+nerds%2C+stuff+that+ma tters&token=0A3316C2D3DF4FF99CB34DD1FCCFD04B&t=108 19845643&qt=ws
      Clicky. [a9.com]

      So basically they can track whatever pages you go to.
      • by pyrros (324803) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:29PM (#8864715)
        I'm also concerned with this, although google seems to do the same thing from time to time (actually quite rarely)

        But they do seem to have something for the tinfoil hat crowd: generic.a9.com [a9.com]. They claim that they dont keep any info from searches done through there.

        If you would prefer not to be recognized on our site, we recommend that you use our alternate service located at generic.A9.com. On generic.a9.com, we will not recognize your A9.com or Amazon.com cookie. Information we gather on generic.a9.com will not be used in our data analysis (other than to detect abuse) and will not be used to personalize the services we offer you. [link] [a9.com]
      • by orthogonal (588627) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:41PM (#8864828) Journal
        Yeah, the fact that they don't provide direct links to the pages also throws my paranoia into overdrive

        I was going to give you a Proxomitron script to convert these nosey links into real links; in doing do, I took a look at the page source for Amazon's search.

        I found a few very interesting things:
        var newloc = "/-/search/loadHist" + search;
        openInHiddenIframe(newloc, document.getElementById("histContent"));
        It look as if one's private search history is sent, in the clear (without SSL encryption) to a hidden frame. Good luck keeping it private if someone else administers the proxy server you use.

        Consider that you log in to Amazon's search: will logging into Amazon search from work mean that the IT guys at work get to see the searches ("gay tentacle anime") you made at home?

        Other goodies from the page source: function loadDeferredImages(). I don't know what this is, but is a deferred image anything like a pop-under? It uses NoSetTimeOut-->NoNoSetTimeOut-->NoNoSetTimeOut-->N oNoSetTimeOut-->NoNoSetTimeOut-->NoNoSetTimeOut--> NoNoSetTimeOut-->NoNoSetTimeOut to do the deferred load.

        Now, maybe this is all benign, and it's just bad programming (apparently they're using JSPs) that inefficiently does work on the client using javascript. But I'd rather be skeptical now than find my search history being used to market to me.

        Oh, the Proxomitron script to convert these links to straightforward links; note that it exempts Google and wikipedia.
        Name = "Un-Prefix URLs (RK modified) and leave original too"
        Active = TRUE
        URL = "(^www.google.com|groups.google.com|*.wikipedia.or g)"
        Bounds = "<a *>"
        Limit = 256
        Match = "<a (*href=)\0("|)\1(*(/|\?)*)\2(('|)http(%3A|:)(%2F|/ )+)\3([^&;=>"*]+)\4\5("|)>"
        Replace = "<a \0\1\2\3\4\5\1><font size=1 color=red>[orig]</font></a>\r\n"
        &nb s p; "<a $UESC(\0\1\3\4\1)>"
    • by orthogonal (588627) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:23PM (#8864661) Journal
      You don't have to be among the tin-foil hat crowd to have a low regard for this "feature". There are just some searches that you *don't* want to remember.

      You make a very good point.

      And note that the Amazon page carefully says that you can "hide" an entry -- not that you can delete it.

      But please remember that Google already logs your IP address and search terms; so presumably thus means that now both Google and Amazon will be keeping tabs on you.
    • by cybermancer (99420) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:29PM (#8864722) Homepage
      A9 offers a generic tracking free [a9.com] interface for the paranoid type. Which is the one most everyone here will be using I am sure.

      generic.a9.com [a9.com]

      If you would prefer not to be recognized on our site, we recommend that you use our alternate service located at generic.A9.com. On generic.a9.com, we will not recognize your A9.com or Amazon.com cookie. Information we gather on generic.a9.com will not be used in our data analysis (other than to detect abuse) and will not be used to personalize the services we offer you.

      Of course if you disable the Amazon and A9 cookies then you loose the search inside and history "features", which is most of what A9 offers over Google.

      Disabling the tracking is a nice feature. Wish you could do that with Google. Sure, google doesn't tell you what your history is, but they know.

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:07PM (#8864493)
    This really doesn't seem to be much of a breakthrough aside from the fact that they are running your serarch past Google, Amazon.com and Alexa at once and presenting a unified interface.

    This is like an infomerical from Amazon trying to pretend to be programming. I'll take my Google straight, and go to Amazon.com when I want to go shopping, thank you very much.
  • by Patik (584959) * <cpatikNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:07PM (#8864497) Homepage Journal
    On their "what's cool" [a9.com] page, they say you can just hover your cursor over the 'site info' button below search results to see more info without leaving the page (works in IE but not Firefox).

    So I searched for Windows [a9.com] and hovered over the site info for the Internet Explorer Home Page (the second result), and the bubble that pops up says:

    People who visit this page also visit:
    • mozilla.org
    • The Gnome DOM Engine
    • Adobe's SVG Viewer
    So people are looking for IE but turn to Mozilla instead? Are people searching for "web browser" and clicking on Mozilla out of interest?

    Here are the top links for "web browser" [a9.com]: Mozilla, Firefox, Opera, Opera again, Safari, Lynx, Galeon, Netscape, Anybrowser.org, and evolt.org.

    Not a single link to IE on the first page of results for "web browser"? Fishy.

    • Not a single link to IE on the first page of results for "web browser"? Fishy.

      Actually, if you search google for that there isn't either. Must be a terminology thing, or no-one rates IE as a worthwhile web browser so its not high on the pagerank...

    • Here are the top links for "web browser": Mozilla, Firefox, Opera, Opera again, Safari, Lynx, Galeon, Netscape, Anybrowser.org, and evolt.org.

      Not a single link to IE on the first page of results for "web browser"? Fishy.


      A9's just passing through Google's results on web searches. IE has fallen out of the first page on Google even...
    • Also note... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ackthpt (218170) * on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:19PM (#8864624) Homepage Journal
      They redirect and try to trap you from backing out. How refreshing. One of the web page practices I most despise.
    • by Cecil (37810) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:19PM (#8864630) Homepage
      Not really fishy.

      No one tells anyone to go "get IE". Everyone who can have IE already HAS IE, for better or for worse. No need to link to it. As a result, the pagerank of most "Download IE" sites (uh, Windows Update???) would be remarkably low compared to the number of people who link to Mozilla et al.
    • by Jahf (21968) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:20PM (#8864638) Journal
      Not really at all.

      1) The people most likely to search for "web browser" or anything related to IE's homepage are most likely looking at alternatives. Most folks looking for IE know that the first thing to do is type "www.microsoft.com" and go from there.

      2) Not very many people look for IE online in general ... it is "just there" and is updated through Windows Update. Related to #1, if they are having to research IE they are probably doing so in some form of technical aspect.

      3) Microsoft doesn't market IE as a "web browser" online, it is a Windows component and as such would have far different content indexed than that of any of the listed browsers.

      4) The search results you mention appear in almost the same order if you search for "web browser" on Google. Is that Fishy to you, too?

      5) There ARE things about A9 that seem fishy ... I agree with other posters who think storing search history is not something I want to see done ... but I don't think the results you mention are.
    • What's fishy about it? If you don't have Windows you can't get IE, and if you have Windows you have IE already...
    • by wfberg (24378) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:33PM (#8864760)
      People who like IE and never consider an alternative just call it "the internet".

      "the internet" lists IE as the second hit, microsoft .com first.
  • by bigHairyDog (686475) * on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:08PM (#8864507)
    There's a search history viewable to the user. So just when various senators, the EFF and half of /. were getting uppety about Gmail's ability to connect a name with a search history, Amazon do the exactly the same.

    In fact, they go one step further - with Google's email you can always lie about your detals, but with Amazon's history feature you can't - it's tied to your Amazon account, credit card and all.

    Of course, I Have Nothing To Hide, but I still think that comapnies shouldn't put themselves in a position where they have a load of juicy data that the police only need a warrant to get at.

    It would have been smart for Amazon to keep this feature offline for a few weeks to get a better idea of how well google deals with the criticism.
  • by untermensch (227534) * on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:08PM (#8864510)
    I hate to say it, but the site looks really slick. The search history, site info, diary feature, book searching are all really clever ideas. But this takes the whole Google privcy debate to another level doesn't it.

    Color scheme kind of turns me of tho'
  • by sgarrity (262297) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:08PM (#8864517) Homepage
    I whipped up a quick A9 Search Plugin for Firefox [actsofvolition.com].
  • CLICK BELOW (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:09PM (#8864524)
    Everyone should run this search [a9.com] just to break in their search engine.
    • by Apiakun (589521)
      I can't decide whether it's funny or scary that the first result is a story about Bezos and Steve Jobs meeting. Did they see eachother naked? Did Bezos get a Steve Job ?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Amazon's search engine can't even add 2+2... Google on the other hand can do combinatorial mathematics.
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:09PM (#8864530)
    Amazon's "Inside the Book" search engine is a very interesting thing.

    If you only need to see a paragraph to know what you need to know, you have no reason left to pay for the rest of the book.

    However, most of the returns are from fiction books, so maybe you're better off just sticking with Google and saving this as a fallback only.
  • I searched the following keywords:
    sex:
    a9.com: about 8,610,000 hits
    google: about 216,000,000
    goatse:
    a9.com: about 9,930
    google: about 41,
    amishrakefight.org/gfy
    a9.com: about 211
    google: Sorry, no information is available...

    Statistically, 2/3 of the time you are better off using a9.com

    -Grump
  • While they say that they might be better, there what looks to me like clutter.

    "Perfection is reached, not when there is no longer anything to
    add, but when there is no longer anything to take away."
    -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Google got this right.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:11PM (#8864554)
    and patented it. Litigation begins tomorrow.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:11PM (#8864556)
    They're running some serious anti booty filters.

    Try this:

    Google: 'suicide girls' (you know you've been there)

    Now a9 'suicide girls'

    Hold the two results up next to one another. See?

    Try this with other, ahem, keywords.
  • by wwest4 (183559) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:11PM (#8864559)
    Does anyone know the origin of the name? It seems like they just started enumerating domain name strings starting with null until they found one that wasn't taken...

    a1.com? no, steak sauce.
    a2.com? nope. taken.
    a3.com? porn site. ...
    a9.com? unregistered. dude, we've done it!
  • Reputation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SeanTobin (138474) * <byrdhuntr@ h o t mail.com> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:12PM (#8864561)
    I used to use altavista as my search engine way back when. Then, they decided that thier users were less important than thier customers. From there after about 8-9 months of use and being set as my homepage - I dumped altavista for google.

    Google has proven over and over again that thier primary concern is for thier users. They have found ways to make money via ads that in no way interupt the user. New features are constantly being developed that will benefit users.

    [side note: I am planning on signing up for gmail and using it as my primary webmail app. I do not consider it an invasion of privacy if I see an add for serial cables when someone sends me an email with a set of rs232 pinouts. I actually find it to be a unique situation where both google's users and customers can benefit]

    Now, look at amazon. This is a company that has decieved users numerous times. Anyone remember the price mismatches between repeat customers and new customers? How honest is my search going to be if I look for '+"golf club" order online'? Something tells me I'll end up at a amazon.com page.

    I understand that a similar situation could occour with froggle. The fact is it has not happened in either of them yet. However based on reputation, I would bet it would happen with google last.
  • Not Live (Score:2, Redundant)

    by jdh-22 (636684)
    A9 is not live. Amazon still has it in beta. Hence the words, BETA next to A9 on its home page.
  • by Psychic Burrito (611532) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:13PM (#8864576)
    From the a9 what's cool [a9.com] page:
    URL Short Cuts: At A9.com you can search directly from the browser URL box by typing: a9.com/query
    I think this is extremely cool. A short way to enter queries by even bypassing the home page completely. I suggested this to Google 3 years back, but they wouldn't hear. I hope they will implement this now in some form.
    • Seeing how I can type gg:query in Konqueror to search Google, that beats a9's "short cut" feature by 5 characters. In firefox you don't even have to type anything at all, just use the Google search box.

      Granted, you could also add a9 engines to both of these, but then it would just be on par with Google anyways.

      Point is this is only useful to people who still use obsolete older web browsers like IE.
    • by zulux (112259)


      I think this is extremely cool. A short way to enter queries by even bypassing the home page completely

      KDE's broswer lets you do this:

      google:query text

      it works with other search engines besides Google as well.

  • I noticed that under their 7 reasons to use A9 they have this:

    Site Info: See information about the website you are visiting, including related links, site statistics (including traffic rank), sites linking to this site, and user ranking. Select from the menu to go to the site's page on Amazon.com where you can get more information and write a review about the site.

    I hoped that there would be a mac version (The only thing I miss about switching to OSX is there is no way I can get the google pagerank of m
  • Google took Yahoo.. took away all the lame "portal" crap that was the "craze" then.. rewrote a whole new, better search engine, and set it loose on the world.

    Amazon took the stripped down look of Google, tied it into their marketing, and set it loose on Slashdot.
  • Porn (Score:5, Funny)

    by PhatKat (78180) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:16PM (#8864607) Homepage
    Here's proof of how bad this search engine is. I searched for 'porn' and didn't find any! I'm on the 5th page of search results and still nothing. what kind of search engine can't find porn on the internet?
  • by PollGuy (707987) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:17PM (#8864612)
    here's Google's (rather curious) cache [google.com]

    Show me an A9 cache of Google's cache and we'll talk...
  • by El_Smack (267329) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:19PM (#8864631)
    Read the "Reasons to use a9" linked here [a9.com].

    I bet they could build a pretty good profile on what interests you.
    Now if they only had some type of online store that could sell you something, they could really clean up.
  • Nice touch (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CGP314 (672613) <CGP@ColinGregory ... t ['Pal' in gap]> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:21PM (#8864644) Homepage
    I like that they used a beta symbol for the B. I wonder how many people will notice.


    -Colin [colingregorypalmer.net]
  • Check out the Cache. (Score:2, Informative)

    by flynot2000 (583878)
    Funny damn thing, as the cache links don't go to A9, but are still against Google's cache.
  • Funny in all the 9 years or so that I've been
    on the net I don't recall going to Yahoo even
    once... Google however, I wouldn't know how to pass a single day without it.

  • Amazon eh? (Score:2, Informative)

    by evil-osm (203438)
    Well here's the google cache for it...

    Take that!

    Hmmm I was going to be funny for a second, but then I tried a9's cache of googles site [a9.com] and got this [216.239.57.104]

    Seems that they are using Google's cache, and simply re-directing users to Google.

    Meh, I guess thats what a beta is all about.
  • a9 has a big problem (Score:5, Informative)

    by cr@ckwhore (165454) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:23PM (#8864664) Homepage
    Ok, so A9 is supposed to be "better" than google? Well, on my first search on a9 just a moment ago, I searched on "amazon sucks" (completely irrelevant to this post) ... and then pressed the "back" button on the search results page. Well, guess what?!?! A9 has a back-button-trap making the "back" button basically useless on their site.

    So, they're supposed to be better than google? What about google's clean, simple, no BS web design approach? That's google's value!! Don't you get it Amazon?!?!? Well of course not! Take a direct look at Amazon.com and you'll get an idea of Amazon's design principles.

  • by MilenCent (219397) * <johnwh@gm a i l . com> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:24PM (#8864671) Homepage
    To me, the best thing about Google, the reason I'd use it even if they fell down to Xty place in the Search Engine race is simply the announced, honest desire to not do evil.

    How unique and wonderful was it when Google released their search engine with no ads, a clean interface, and no loathsome sponsored links? Even when they introduced ads, they made sure they're clearly labeled as such, and made entirely of text.

    In short, Google treated me as a person, and not a pair of sticky eyeballs. Meanwhile, Amazon has long been known to be well acquainted with the Not-Not-Evil path -- remember the patent on one-click shopping?

    Even Google's missteps have been honest. They have a cookie on their site and probably log searches, and Gmail may have privacy problems, but still, Google is probably the least evil for-profit tech company I know of.

    I'll admit that I'm watching Google pretty closely at the moment to see what happens with Gmail, but honestly, so long as they're up front with users about what they're doing and don't try to bury the permission clause in the TOS language, I'm fine with it. I even had an idea for a kind of art project, a voluntary, massive, transparent clipboard sharing project, that I've given serious thought to implementing that would probably be worse than what Google's doing, but I still think it'd be okay so long as the user knows it's a privacy concern ahead of time, and has his attention purposely drawn to it, preferably with big red letters. In fact, for me that'd just increase Gmail's cool factor, as I'm so boring that any federal investigators looking at my mail would only get a good laugh and 100k of spam for their trouble.
  • Certainly interesting at first, but the colours and layout make my skin crawl. It just doesn't seem as instantly usable as Google, it feels cluttered.

    Add to that is far slower then Google, yes I know it's being slashdotted right now, but that never slowed down Google.

    I'm sorry, this just ain't going to be a winner. Now if Google were to incorperate some of these new features such as detailed site info that might be a good thing.
  • Well, since my site still ranks #1 and #2 for the appropriate keywords with A9, I like it.

    The "Site Info" rollover is very nice, it gives a bit of pre-click background about the page.

    Seems like every search engine is offering some kind of Toolbar/Deskbar these days. Does anyone know if the deskbars are all built on Dave Bau [dqsd.net]'s original open source project?
  • On Linux, Again (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AnuradhaRatnaweera (757812) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:26PM (#8864688) Homepage
    Similar to Google [netcraft.com] A9 is running on Linux [netcraft.com]. But isn't it the first time a [major?] search engine [to be?] is running Apache?
  • Searching for my software money pit "Klassy Software" returns the license page for an old product information site for my HTML editor Net Weasel as #1, an old "about us" page as #2, and some rants of mine on Slash Dot as #3. Funky.
  • Privacy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by countach (534280) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:28PM (#8864702)
    Does anybody really WANT Amazon to be storing our searches on their server forever and a day? Even the "edit history" feature apparently only allows you to "hide" old entries. This sux big time!! I guess it's a marketing ploy.
  • by codeonezero (540302) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:28PM (#8864709)
    Any web engine where software I wrote comes up as first result when searching for an eggtimer is ok with me ;-)

    And no I didn't google bomb it or anything.
  • Early thoughts (Score:3, Informative)

    by BSDevil (301159) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:29PM (#8864717) Journal
    As someone mentioned, the searching from the address bar is brilliant. And while I don't have that much of a problem typing in google's search location (when I'm not using FF), this is just that much slicker.

    They also censor their results. Hardcore. As an indication, a9 give zero results for "hardcore" whereas google gives somewhere in the area of sixty million. While I'm sure that the bulk of them are porn, I'm not sure how much I trust a9's censors. Search engines already miss enough of the web - I don't want them purposefully hiding more of it.

    And I can't stand "sponsored links" in line with real results. I know it's small, but I love how with google I can look at the left side of the screen for "real" results, and the right side of ads.

    Earth to google: you've got nothing to worry about. But get in easyier address bar searching, and bring back than plan you mentioned a while ago to place fulltext copies of lots of books in your database, and you're golden.
    • by JCholewa (34629)

      > Earth to google ... get in easyier[sic] address bar searching

      Um, Every single graphical desktop web browser in the universe, save for one (yeah, THAT one), supports keyword features that make it completely pointless for individual websites to bother. In Opera, since last millennium, you could type "g bunch of search terms". Mozilla could be easily configured to use the same syntax, or you could change the keyword from "g" to something else (like "IWannaKnowMoreAbout bunch of search terms"). Konquer
  • http://a9.com/litigious%20bastards [a9.com] turns up trumps on SCO.
  • What's in a name? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crushinghellhammer (727226) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:32PM (#8864744)
    This may sound like a silly thing to say, but "a9" just doesn't have the ring to it that "google" does.

    It sounds like one of those sites you access by typing in the IP address, and those are usually shady, heh.

    Apart from the lack of the features mentioned in the posts below, the visual interface is nothing to write about either.

    Keep working on it, Amazon. It'll only make the folks at Google work harder, and make it better.
  • A Google Killer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Snowspinner (627098) * <philsand@@@ufl...edu> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:45PM (#8864859) Homepage
    The article seems to suggest A9 as a Google killer.

    Somehow, I don't think that the Google killer will license Google's search.
    • Re:A Google Killer (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dalelane (704468)
      Somehow, I don't think that the Google killer will license Google's search.

      hmmm... does seem a little odd.

      since they've started talking about it, (e.g. news article - sep 2003 [internetnews.com]) they seem to have been trying to pitch it as something to beat google, so is a surprise how heavily they have ended up relying on google!
  • I just typed several esoteric subjects (i.e., not in the top 2% of search words), and it pulls results far worse than Google. Rocky Horror, several specific roleplaying terms, etc. The stuff that is really specific and Google is useful for locating on the web. I know the top sites for everything I entered, and they do not appear, or lousy geocities, vacant sites or 404s pop up while the high traffic or official sites do not appear. Meanwhile certain domains (imdb, owned by Amazon) seem to always be in the first few returns.

    It's still in beta, but so far it doesn't impress.

    --
    Evan

  • Umm... (Score:3, Informative)

    by mgcsinc (681597) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:48PM (#8864895)
    Umm, just dor the sake of it, "Yup, it's what Google did to Yahoo" is absurd; Yahoo was running google technology, not vice versa!
  • by tcgwebs (737923) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:53PM (#8864931) Homepage
    You do realize that when you run a search, your results are the same as what you would get at Google, but with that god-awful interface and Amazon ads? Don't mean to be a troll, but there's absolutely no compelling reason to use a9 over Google.

    Besides, Google's toolbar lets you save your recent searches anyway, that's nothing new, and it saves you the five seconds that it would take to type "google.com" or "a9.com/..." for you lazy people out there.

    The only reason Amazon did this is because they want more people to shop at Amazon and use their search engine (obviously). It's been tried a thousand times before. Google won the preference of millions because the ads aren't obtrusive and they weren't in the business to try to get you to shop somewhere, or join a pay service, or any of that crap that Yahoo and MSN does.

    I'd say Google wins. :)

  • by dan_polt (692266) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:55PM (#8864954)
    The ability of google to group things from the same site together is a gem, which allows a better chance to find what you want, IMHO. (Where you get a little link to click to see more results from x site).

    So my search for some well crawled site brought up first page of links from the same site.

    And come on, the colour isn't exactly easy on the eyes.
  • by ps_inkling (525251) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @08:20PM (#8865166)
    Go to a9.com and search for 'amazon'.

    First result: Amazon [amazon.com]

    Go to a9.com and search for 'books'.

    First result: Barnes and Noble [barnesandnoble.com]

  • by mattmcal (570578) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @08:22PM (#8865181) Journal
    As Mark Jones points out on The Industry Standard [thestandard.com], the terms of service indicate there may be some personal data you weren't planning on sharing heading back to the Amazon databanks:
    "By collecting URLs, A9.com tracks and collects a record of users' web browsing activity within and across websites. A9.com also collects and stores other user information you give A9.com"
  • This is ALEXA (Score:3, Informative)

    by vrioux (723563) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @08:45PM (#8865375) Homepage
    Did anyone of you see that this is absolutely not a new search engine, but only a front-end to Alexa's crappy and mostly copied search engine ? www.alexa.com

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