To me, the core feature that makes A9 interesting is what Udi Manber calls a “history server” – the technologies behind A9’s search history and personalization features. Having your entire search and click history, and if you use the Toolbar, your entire browsing history as well, available on a server side application opens up all sorts of new approaches to solving search, research, and recall problems. Combining that history with what Amazon already knows about you (no, A9 does not do that…yet) creates even more powerful possibilities.
What gets me thinking is that for those who commit to A9 as a search solution, new and continuous improvements in search are likely to be hacked up, based on the fact that the personalized history can be analyzed and leveraged. For example, Gary and others have noted that the service does not allow you to keyword search within your searches, and display, for example, just those pages you’ve browsed in the past. I’d wager Giants tickets that will be in the feature set by the end of the year.
A minor example of the power of the history server: when you repeat a search, A9 will show you what links have changed and what links you’ve clicked on before. This might seem like a minor deal, but it’s a pretty effortless feature for A9 to serve up. Imagine what else might be done with the history server. If you can imagine it, you can probably do it – again, I’ll wager that Amazon will figure out a way to make the A9 interface API friendly, so that its platform developers can cook up even greater feats.
Other useful links:
– Business 2.0: Joh Battelle’s interview with Amazon’s Udi Manber
– Rex: “To me, A9 is not designed as an Internet search engine, but as a knowledge-searching tool to end all knowledge searching tools…..As you look for information, Amazon will provide you the results that ‘people like you’ have found most helpful when searching for the same information, product, place, answer, etc..I don’t think Amazon wants to compete with Google. Google admitted recently that it was a content business. Amazon has no such designs. Amazon, rather, wants to connect you with something you can purchase.”
– Christian Lindholm says that Search has turned to Find with A9
We are at an exciting time in the evolution of the Internet – innovation is happening at many companies and we bloggers can discuss these events in real-time, matching our wits against each other and the developers at the companies.