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.