Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Amazon Debuts Beefed-up A9 Search, Powered by Google - and More

As noted in CNET News and other major outlets Amazon has raised the curtain on its collaborative search engine venture with Google, an effort that builds on the earlier A9 Beta but goes far beyond it now. A multi-column search results format provides access to not only relevant Web pages and Amazon books that match a query but as well reference materials from GuruNet, movie histories from IMDb, Google-powered image retrieval and a number of A9-specific features such as user-generated "diary" entries on specific search results and query histories. A complementary (and complimentary) A9 browser toolbar provides features similar to the Google toolbar plus the ability to move from one link to another in a given page of search results after you've clicked on one of the items, as well as "people who have visited this site have also visited..." pull-down window and an optional diary window. This is a great federated search tool that is very well engineered for usability and moving towards an environment in which a broad array of premium databases can be accessed alongside open Web results simply and effectively. While consumer oriented in its general format, it's an approach to managing multiple levels of content on a federated basis with common management, enrichment and ecommerce tools that should inform - and warn - suppliers with professional markets in mind.
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