Amazon has added new features to its A9 search engine. Writes John Battelle:
A9 has broken search into its two most basic parts. Recovery is everywhere you’ve been before (and might want to go again); discovery is all that you may wish to find but have yet to encounter. A9 attacks recovery through its original Search History feature and its integrated toolbar, which tracks every site you visit. But new to this version of the site is a feature A9 calls “Discover,” which finds sites you might be interested in based on your click stream and — here’s the neat part — the click streams of others.
What Manber & Co. have built with A9 is more of a Web information management interface, with search as its principal navigational tool. They are betting that over time, Web users will come to recognize, then demand, that their search service not only find sites based on queries but also remember where they have been and what they have clicked on. A9 is also a bet on search as an interface to structured information, like the GuruNet reference library or the Internet Movie Database. For certain searches (A9 uses “Clark Gable” as an example), the result is an extremely powerful report, including everything from images of the star to his film biography to book references and related sites others have found useful. (Even this approach is not entirely new: Yahoo and Ask have taken similar tacks with certain results.)
Business Week adds: “A9 is aiming for the Holy Grail of the Internet business: to be the prime place for connecting people searching for just about anything — information, products, or services — with those who can provide them.”
Jeremy Zawodny: “Rather than making search a “lean and mean” operation the way that Google had, A9 is trying to make searching the web a different kind of experience. They’re encouraging exploration while also trying to tie in your previous behavior (past queries).”
Marketing Playbook has more on A9.
As WSJ outlines, some of the innovations coming out from the various search engines are being directed in two directions:
Desktop Search: Searches your hard drive and e-mail for info that is contained within documents and messages. Picks up where Microsoft’s current file finding features fall short.
Personal Web: Similar to Web bookmarks stored online, this lets you save links to sites, but also lets you share them by-e-mail and search within them.