unstruct.org My unstructured thoughts and rants

4Oct/060

Google’s SearchMash

Google has started a new site called SearchMash which seems to be intended to test out new UI ideas for search results. It’s AJAX-based and currently has web page and image search.

Currently they show images to the right of web page results and the green URLs are clickable menus. When you click on “more web pages” it expands in place, giving you a longer scrollable page instead of a new one, which looks good and is useful.

It appears that they will experiment there so it should be fun to go back every now and then. Nice to see more of AJAX and JavaScript.

3Oct/060

A9 drops unique features and switches to MSN search

Amazon’s search engine effort called A9 has quietly dropped their unique and highly publicized features. They are no longer remembering all past search queries by logged-in users. This is odd since they could have built a great personalization feature using this information. Perhaps they are worried about privacy issues.

They have also removed the street-level images that they so painstakingly collected over several years. These were pictures of store-fronts that were shown when you searched for an address in twenty cities. They must have spent quite a fortune to take these pictures so it’s surprising that they have removed them.

In addition to this they have switched their search engine from Google to MSN. Since Microsoft’s search engine is not quite up there in quality yet this is puzzling. They will likely lose a lot of their users because of this at least in the short term. I suspect there are business strategy decisions behind all this but for the moment what remains of all the hype on A9 is a pretty pedestrian aggregated-search site. It will be interesting to see where A9 is headed.