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Amazon.com Inc.’s A9 search engine has dropped some of its most widely touted features, including the ability to remember everything a user has ever searched for and a service that showed detailed, street-level images of major cities.
The Internet retailer removed the functions, along with several others, late Friday. Amazon.com spokesman Drew Herdener said the company is “shifting its priorities to areas where it can provide the greatest benefit for customers.”
A9 had put considerable effort into taking detailed, street-level photos of 20 U.S. cities, which people could use to map directions and find businesses. Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. also have invested heavily in such photographic search technologies.
Herdener said it was too early to say what Seattle-based Amazon will do with the technology and images now.
Amazon's A9 Search Engine Cuts Features [thenewstribune.com]
I think they've been doing some fiddling in their core areas. I had a long list of books that I put in my shopping cart last week. I went to finalize it today, and - poof - all gone!
I'm also finding that a sort on publication date just plain doesn't work. It did last week.
Edit: this probably DOES have something to do with the A9 update. I noticed "Search Powered by A9" on the search results. Duh! Of course, they would use A9 for their on-site search. (Not something I've noticed or cared about in the past.)
They've totally hosed their core functionality. Off to give Bookpool another shot. They were pretty good for a while, but then their prices started edging up.
If they indeed dropped everybody's shopping cart in the process, wonder what the one-quarter effect is on the bottom line?
I think a lot of the big players are seeing that by diversifying too much they lose the thing that brought people to their site in the first place.
I used to go to Amazon for books, but once they started with everything else I started looking elsewhere when I specifically wanted to "buy a book".