Amazon's new search engine is live.
John Battelle got to break the news about a9 going live. Interesting responses in the comments. People are always quick to poo-poo new things. People are natural critics, first and foremost. Nevertheless, I think there are some pretty cool features in the toolbar and the site.
I've been using eurekster quite a bit and really appreciate being able to quickly repeat searches without typing. How many times do you repeat searches? I do the same ones (+ others) every day.
Also, taking this a step further, a9's toolbar allows you to take notes that pop up when you visit the site next time... kind of like a mini-personal-blogging feature This could be handy too.
I am also kinda excited about how/if amazon will use the search data to recommend products to me. Amazon has the best personalization technology on the web when it comes to commerce. I can see this only improving it.
"A9.COM'S TOOLBAR SERVICE COLLECTS AND STORES FULL UNIFORM RESOURCE LOCATORS ("URLS") FOR EVERY WEB PAGE THAT YOU VIEW WHILE USING THE A9.COM TOOLBAR SERVICE. THESE URLS SOMETIMES INCLUDE PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION. "
This usually gets the privacy and the spyware people's panties in a bunch.
Overall, it seems that they are rebranding some of their existing technologies(alexa and search inside the book), adding a few new snappy features (search history, toolbar), and trying out a new search interface. (something that yahoo was too chicken to do).
I welcome a9 to the race. it isn't revolutionary, but it offers some nice improvements.