Amazon’s A9 Search Engine Goes Live

Amazon’s A9 search engine – complete with browser tool bar and diary function, has gone live. The new service is unique in two respects: you can search through the full text of many books on Amazon, and there’s an innovative diary function enabling users to make notes on any web page, and retrieve them on any computer you use.

The full text book search is welcome, based on Amazon’s Search Inside the Book service, and allows you to see the actual page of the book queried. However, the book search is limited in functionality and is essentially a mechanism to allow Amazon to sell more books.

The search engine is based on good old Google, and requires users to create an account and log in to view their saved searches and notes. Oh, wait a minute … even more data for Google to mine! Plus Amazon will have access to your searches and promote relevant books to you.

It’s a strange hybrid – not quite Google, but not Amazon either. We’ll be keeping an eye out to see who absorbs who.


John Battelle’s Searchblog on the launch

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?