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Amazons New Search Enters Online Beta

     
9:14 pm on Apr 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Amazon's new search engine is live. It adds a bunch of personalization features on top of Google's search functionality.

[a9.com...]

7:29 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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What could be friendly than taking some of the privacy heat away from GMail.

I haven't thought too deeply about A9, but I'm guessing the privacy squads will have a field day with it.

I love their approach to complying with COPPA

A9.com is not intended for use by children under the age of 13.

They should advertise as the search engine for adults.

7:58 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think it's pretty cool.

Not revolutionary, but cool. Alexa provides data that no one else does, and it's neat to be able to get some background info on a site before clicking through. It gives the savvy searcher a way to do a little screening before typing in their credit card info to some random site.

The million dollar question is - when are we going to start seeing Amazon discounts for those that download the Alexa toolbar? The usefulness of A9 depends on the usefulness of the Alexa data, which is pretty suspect at the moment.

8:48 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It's very clever. Because they are tracking and storing all clicks and sites visited, when they want to move away from Google they can crawl as a priority that subset of the Web that has *already* been visited by users (which might only be 1% or less of the full "universe" of sites on the Web) and that way users will have a seamless experience pre/post-Google feed.

Not to mention that while people aren't very good at filtering good from bad results (how can they when all they see is a couple of lines of text) they will still be slightly better than "random" at skipping over clearly spammy-looking serps while clicking more frequently on trusted/popular/real-looking sites. So the results post initial crawl should look on the surface cleaner than Google's (if much less inclusive)

I'm not saying this is what they *will* do, but if they haven't at least thought about it somebody in the planning department needs to start drinking stronger coffee.

9:06 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Maybe this is just a newbie question, but from what source is A9 pulling the traffic detail numbers in the site info section?
9:17 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if they keep a full history of searches tied to each user (even if we remove some from our history list)...
9:18 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if they keep a full history of searches tied to each user

It's pretty unlikely they could resist keeping such valuable personalization data.

9:28 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if they keep a full history of searches tied to each user

Google have done for years - why wouldn't A9?

9:51 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if they keep a full history of searches tied to each user (even if we remove some from our history list)...

One of the main "features" is your personal search history. You can access your back history at anytime from any computer. But it also sounds like you can opt out of it.

Business 2.0 magazine has an interview today with Udi Manber [business2.com] that may answer your question more accurately.

11:04 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Google results merged with the laughable Alexa results.

It's no more than an extension of the Alexa toolbar spyware program. Read the "privacy policy." Who needs it?

11:08 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Next!

yeh, next!

12:57 am on Apr 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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After a 2 day for a power searcher, the history is really a nice thing. How many days or weeks will Brett wil take to put a dedicated A9 forum?

I bet for three weeks! ;-)

2:38 am on Apr 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It's another lame google reskin effort. Does anyone think this is a real search engine? Yawn..... I'll offer them $10 for their domain name a year from now after they shut it down from no traffic.
3:46 am on Apr 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If this was some new company doing the same thing, showing Alexa + Google + Some Amazon Results, this discussion wouldn't end up in the index page.

...and as many have said, Next!

Sid

4:05 am on Apr 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Anyways, still good effort with Books etc inserted and save search features from amazon.com into a short names domain and with google results along with google adword listings all there. I wont call it a BAD effort.
6:07 am on Apr 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Search history is in an interesting idea. How is the engine going to distinguish between a click-through that is useful to the user vs. a click-through that is junk? Wouldn't A9 have to track click patterns? If we click the "back" button, that is in indicator the page we visited is not the one we want...
7:26 am on Apr 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if they keep a full history of searches tied to each user

"Customers who searched for purple widgets also searched for yellow gizmos."

1:33 pm on Apr 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Well, I have to say that I love the more subtle colour scheme. Had enough of the extremes! :)

I also like the features like book search, search history and quick search (19.com/query) quite a lot.

I'm a little dubious about the search results though, but I guess that's because my site (number one for given keyword on Google) is nowhere to be seen here.

Very interesting though - try "online book stores". You'd have thought Amazon would pop up on an Amazon search engine... ;)

3:00 pm on Apr 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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the "Site Info" button rollover bubble doesn't work for me on Mac, neither with Safari nor IE... happen to anyone else?
3:24 pm on Apr 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I like the "a9.com/my search goes here" url feature. Now I can see THAT taking off!

So much easier than the "http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=my+search+goes+here" of Google.

3:54 pm on Apr 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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> I like the "a9.com/my search goes here" url feature.

Its done with some simple .htaccess coding (which is commonly used by webmasters to convert a dynamic URL - as search engines don't support those.). I guess Amazon wants its SERPs to be indexed by Google.

Sid

[edited by: sidyadav at 4:00 pm (utc) on April 16, 2004]

3:56 pm on Apr 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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When you use query like "city" + 2 or 3 keywords it's show up a huge difference from Google.

Google list 5 to 8 directories or comparaisons sites and A9 will show half less of thoses resellers sites

6:08 pm on Apr 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I can't even look at the screen because those colors are so bad.
It's got some cool functionality... mixing Alexa stuff with Google.... but those colors seriously make me feel ill. Anyone else?
5:42 pm on Apr 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Who needs it?

next!

Yawn...

Looking strictly at the surface, I agree it's not that exciting right now. But I'm stunned at the inability of some WebmasterWorld users not to look into the future and consider the implications of what this can become in terms of personalized search and blending search and commerce into one. (Not to mention what it means for the future of the Google-Amazon relationship....)

...this discussion wouldn't end up in the index page.

Perhaps Brett sees something you don't?

6:03 pm on Apr 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I absolutely agree with Pleeker. A9 is a major deal.

Look at the Yahoo interview talking about personalization as the third major wave in search
[e-marketing-news.co.uk...]

A9 is headed UDI Manber - a very serious search dude. If Amazon didn't care about building out the search features, they would have given the project to the clowns over at Alexa.

AFAIK, A9 is the first non-porn search engine that excludes children under 13 from using it. Another sign that they are going to do new things.

It is only Beta.

Their toolbar has some interesting features - personally I really like the imdb search.

6:47 pm on Apr 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>>But I'm stunned at the inability of some WebmasterWorld users not to look into the future and consider the implications...

Yes I see many really good possibilities. Amazon leads the field with its personalized recommendation technology. But with that said, I refuse to get excited about vaporware. Until they show they have the will to follow through on their talent I'm not going to get excited about something that does not yeet exist.

12:09 am on Apr 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It is hardly vaporware - it exists in Beta mode.

It already has major features that exist in no other search engine (that I know of).

4:18 am on Apr 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I refuse to get excited

I wasn't asking anyone to get excited, Brad. (Lord knows the Gmail threads have enough of that....) Just hoping for a little more discussion than the wave of "Next!"s we got. :)

11:40 am on Apr 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Pleeker and figment88, I'll try to expand on "Next." And I'm not saying you are wrong. I have been saying for months that Amazon could make one cracking good search portal if they wanted too.

They have an outstanding book search, great (and transparent to operate) personalization software, vast experience with user input (reviews), and more. And I admire the way the A9 toolbar pulls together such resources as IMDB (fantastic), books , web etc. They should also be able to blow the doors off of both Froogle and Yahoo Shopping with a shopping search.

But, I really think they need to distinguish themselves from being a Google retread before they will be a serious contender. People need a reason to overcome habit and inertia to switch to using A9 over Google or Yahoo. I'm not sure that what I am seeing now can do that.

Here's why I'm being so cautious: NBCi, Go.com, Excite, AV, lycos: the road to search engine sucess is littered with the corpses of companies with big plans, big promises, big money, and good features but not the will, vision or attention span to see it through.

That is going to be the big challenge for Amazon, getting new users to adopt A9 and getting people to switch to A9 from other engines. Can they do it, right now, with what is there?

I'm willing to take a wait and see attitude and see what they build before rendering any kind of final judgement. Nobody will cheer louder than I if they can pull it off. :)

Challenges and recap:

1. Attract users and keep them. (create positive buzz)
2. reliance on Google.
3. reliance on MSIE
4. disabling the browser back button

BTW: They have released an A9 search plugin for us Mozilla/Firefox users, which is very welcome.

11:21 pm on Apr 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Can anybody tell me how Amazon will advertise a9.com? Thank You.
7:14 am on Apr 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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As a frequent Alexa [Alexa.com] and Alexa Toolbar [download.alexa.com] user I find that some of the features in the A9 [A9.com] search engine are good and some are bad.

A9 Toolbar [toolbar.a9.com]
There is no visual hint for "Block Popups" on or off state. I think I have so many block popup programs running in the background that I am afraid of a riot.

The Diary according to the official 7 Reasons to Use A9.com [a9.com] is

the newest and (we think) coolest feature of the toolbar. You can take notes on any web page, and reference them whenever you visit that page, on any computer that you use. Your entries are automatically saved whenever you stop typing or when you go to another page.

I find it useless. And it cannot be optionally removed from the toolbar.

I like the "Search This Site:(www.webmasterworld.com)" function on the A9 Toolbar [toolbar.a9.com] as the buttons are bigger than on the Alexa Toolbar [download.alexa.com] and the display is easier to understand than "Search Current Website"

I like the search results from A9 [A9.com] and search history. Dislike color scheme.

Was always a fan of Alexa ratings and related sites listings.

Would like to put a search box on my site as have done with other but do not know how to code the search URL scheme A9.com/query

Help.

[edited by: jeremy_goodrich at 8:57 pm (utc) on April 20, 2004]
[edit reason] see TOS thanks - don't drop your url ;) [/edit]

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