Thursday, January 27, 2005

More on searching

It seems that I write about two things more than anything else in this blog, and those would be Apple hardware and search engines. At least where search engines are concerned I mostly talk about Google, not only because they're the most visible, but also because they do cool stuff. But there are other engines out there, and while some use there own technology, some sit ontop more well known engines and try and provide added value.

The Amazon A9 search engine sits on top of Google but enhances the returns with hopefully relevant content from, amongst other places, Amazon's own Search Inside the Book®. It also does some moderately nice other stuff, but nothing exiciting enough for me to switch away from Google on a full time basis.

Well now, at least for searches about actual physical places in a number of cities, which critically for me includes Los Angeles, CA, and Portland, OR, I might just be using Amazon A9 a lot more.

Yesterday I talked, at least in passing, about location dependant searches. Today I find that the guys at A9 have driven round a bunch of cities with a GPS unit and taken video of the streets, and made still images from it available.

The Amazon A9 Yellow Pages entry for the Portland Marriott Downtown

If you search for the Portland Marriott Downtown, home for the last few year of O'Reilly OSCON, you not only get the address and a map, but pictures of the streets around the hotel. That's pretty cool, although as Russell Beattie pointed out in his blog, not as unique as the guys at A9 initally thought.

Okay, so that's pretty nice. Of course what would be nicer is if we had a mobile interface into this data. Combining these results with the results from the mobile operators current "Find my nearest..." services and some custom directions based on your own GPS fix, and we might actually have something useful here.