Amazon's A9 Launches
April 14, 2004 11:57 AM   Subscribe

Amazon's A9 Launches -'s Entry into the Search Engine World launches today (in Beta). [via BoingBoing]
posted by kokogiak (34 comments total)
Actually, the via should also point to John Battelle's longer post about this.
posted by kokogiak at 12:02 PM on April 14, 2004

Hmm, interesting.

A relatively obscure search I just did for "wfmu chris ware t-shirt" gives me the exact same matches for the first 4 listings.



Not quite sure what to make of that . . .
posted by jeremias at 12:12 PM on April 14, 2004

jeremias, A9 is built on top of Google and uses its results. Read Kokogiak's second link in the comments there for a full explaination of the service and its implications. Interesting post, though.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:18 PM on April 14, 2004

Amazon A9 is much more awesomer than google.
posted by Witty at 12:20 PM on April 14, 2004

So it sounds like A9 combines google search results with Amazon's inside-the-book search they released a couple months ago. Could be handy, but not exactly earth-shattering.
posted by falconred at 12:21 PM on April 14, 2004

Yes, the first thing I did was compare Google and A9 results. They are very similar. The "miserable failure" googlebomb is on A9 as well.
posted by McBain at 12:23 PM on April 14, 2004

Hm. So that's what it'd be like if Google was cluttered.
posted by rusty at 12:23 PM on April 14, 2004

Google by any other name.....

Take all of google's evil privacy practices. Add your Amazon history. Mix well with all of your search results & web page hits -- your Amazon ID will keep track of all of this as well.

Nice work, Bezos.
posted by Rob1855 at 12:59 PM on April 14, 2004

Yeah, there doesn't seem much point to this. It's just a Google search with a search history, some extra UI cruft, some "inside the book" results (which are completely seperate from the other results -- you need to click the 'open book results' bar on the right) -- oh, and a slightly better URL scheme.

I'm still waiting for someone to build a web search to at least compete with Google. If it gets left much longer then it might not even be possible.
posted by reklaw at 1:08 PM on April 14, 2004

its really ugly
posted by Satapher at 1:09 PM on April 14, 2004

jeremias, A9 is built on top of Google and uses its results

Doh! Didn't see that. But only the first 4 were the same . .oh well, not going to worry about it.

Something else, at least in Mozilla Firefox for Windows, after I search for something, the back button seems to be broken. Clicking on the back button returns me to the same page. Is that just browser weirdness? Haven't tried on IE.
posted by jeremias at 1:19 PM on April 14, 2004

Anytime Google-Watch is linked, I feel a moral obligation to link to Google-Watch Watch. It provides some much-needed context.
posted by Jairus at 1:25 PM on April 14, 2004

Rob, that link about Google's privacy exploits is pretty savage. Is this something to be concerned about, or is it a bit conspiracy-theoryish to be taken too seriously?
posted by swank6 at 1:32 PM on April 14, 2004

I disagree, Satapher... compared to the hideous Google, it's lovely!
posted by Robot Johnny at 1:35 PM on April 14, 2004

One thing I like very much about A9 is having search results saved out thar on the interweb and associated to my user identity. I find my past searches very valuable and would love for them to be available from any computer, anywhere, anytime.
posted by massless at 1:35 PM on April 14, 2004

That Google Watch link cracks me up. Oh no, the evil cookies are coming to get us!

Seriously, there's nothing scary about cookies. You can disable them quite easily if it really bothers you. Just look at the diagram on this page, and read some of the ranting about Google hiring "spooks". The guy's quite obviously a few slices short of a loaf.
posted by reklaw at 1:56 PM on April 14, 2004

Hey, for a niche site, I think it's great. I love the idea of Search Inside The Book (tm), and putting it in this context, hopefully keeping the project scanning more books, is quite useful. Sure, I won't stop doing most searches through my trusty Google bar in Firefox, but I will probably come back to this when doing writing research, for example.

Crafty crafty.
posted by billpena at 1:58 PM on April 14, 2004

Still no results on what mimimomomizolalilamialomuelamironoriminos means. Help metafilter.
posted by geoff. at 2:03 PM on April 14, 2004

So, using Google's web services and Amazon's web services, couldn't any competent web programmer create something similar fairly easily? Doesn't seem like that big a deal. I'm sure there must already be sites out there that combine search results from the two in one search.
posted by tippiedog at 2:18 PM on April 14, 2004

Well, searching for porno turns up nothing. I don't see this thing lasting.
posted by chunking express at 2:23 PM on April 14, 2004

A search for porn turns up plenty.
posted by me3dia at 2:46 PM on April 14, 2004

Anyone know why it's called a9 -- what's the significance of the 9?
posted by paulrockNJ at 3:02 PM on April 14, 2004

There's hope yet I suppose. (It is strange though, that both porn and pornography return results, while porno does not.)
posted by chunking express at 3:05 PM on April 14, 2004

May be the "9" is a tip of the hat to Plan 9 From Outerspace the worst movie ever made.
posted by stbalbach at 4:16 PM on April 14, 2004

Search for my blog (which is a made up word, so all instances of it refer to me) brings up the actual blog as the 4th result, compared to Google having it first. No thanks Amazon.
posted by Orange Goblin at 4:17 PM on April 14, 2004

I seem to remember reading that Googlewatch was started by a disgruntled "search-engine optimizer" guy or something like that--someone who wasn't getting the kind of google ranking he thought he deserved.

Why A9? Pure speculation, but 1. It's the A from amazon, plus 9 for the number of letters that follows in (except for the period, of course)--sort of on the model of i18n for "internationalization." 2. It's short.
posted by adamrice at 6:39 PM on April 14, 2004

adamrice got part of it I think, that and A9 = A + the 9 letters "lgorithms", also A9 = A + the 9 letters "lexandria", or Alexandria, (as in the Library of). Got that from the Wired Interview with Udi Manber a while back.
posted by kokogiak at 7:21 PM on April 14, 2004

Any search done from my computer (including others using it) potentially recorded and associated with my name, address, etc. (from Amazon account info)? A marketer's dream and a huge privacy problem. No thanks.
posted by D.C. at 9:03 PM on April 14, 2004

D.C. nails it for me, too. A search engine I have to log into? Huh? And that can match me to personally identifying information? A marketers wet dream (or nightmare, depending on your POV). Ok, I know I don't have to log in if I don't want to, but it seems I do if I want to benefit from the supposed advantages of A9 over Google. So, what problem does this solve, again?

If you want to be super-paranoid, there's no reason a less robust match couldn't also be made just from ip address, of course - were A9 to share their logs with Amazon and write the appropriate filters - not difficult to do...

I can see some utility in having a search history, I suppose, for curiosity's sake. But if a search is successful, doesn't one bookmark the results, or immediately consume them? If it's unsuccessful, why would one want to remember it?
posted by normy at 10:02 PM on April 14, 2004

And they've broken the back button between search result pages. Yuk.
posted by normy at 10:10 PM on April 14, 2004

"Hm. So that's what it'd be like if Google was cluttered."

posted by nthdegx at 1:11 AM on April 15, 2004

Now, if they could bring back the Library of Alexandria so I could search it from my computer, I'd be impressed.
posted by Eekacat at 5:49 AM on April 15, 2004

Hmmm. The internet search is google, and the problem is the book search is complete rubbish(!).

e.g. Searching for "clocks were striking thirteen" should surely come up with 1984?

Ok, so direct quotations don't work, let's try a couple of main characters:

Searching for "Bernard Marx Helmoltz Watson" should surely come up with Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, but it's nowhere to be seen.

concepts? "Big Brother"? Nope, "Ministry of Truth"? Nope.

Even slightly obscure searches on extremely popular titles result - e.g. "Hermione Ron Harry" doesn't bring up one of the Harry Potter books in the first page of results.

Amazon need to sort their Page Rank out!!!!!!
posted by BigCalm at 6:49 AM on April 15, 2004

> Hmmm. The internet search is google, and the problem is the book search is complete rubbish(!).

Bloody Nora. This is a beta! Chill out.
posted by catchmurray at 9:00 AM on April 15, 2004

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