A9 Offers Google Serious Competition with OpenSearch Technology

a9 opensearch"We want OpenSearch to do for search what RSS has done for content."-A9.com

There is a whole lot of information on the Internet (and by Internet, I mean more than the Web), and Google can’t find it all. Amazon.com’s search engine A9 has decided to try and tackle this problem by allowing sites and databases that have their own search engines whose contents are not constantly indexed by Google to output their search results directly to A9.com. This includes organizations such as The New York Times, Wikipedia, Flickr, BlogDigger, Internet Movie Database (IMDB), Creative Commons, Mozilla, Microsoft Developers Network, Indeed.com (Job Search), PubMed (National Library of Medicine), NASA and even the CIA. The full and quickly expanding list can be seen here.

For those of you who are not familiar with A9, it uses Google's search results as a starting point. On top of that, there are several “columns” that you can add to your search results, so you can simultaneously see Google’s web page results (enhanced by Alexa's site info and Amazon.com's own database) in one column, and image search results in another. However, with the addition of this OpenSearch technology, you can add another column full of search results from sites such as Wikipedia to view alongside your other A9 results. A9 already allows you to search inside books that have previews on Amazon.com and of course A9’s amazing Yellow Pages Search that will actually show a street-side photo of the business you’ve looked up.

In geek terms, OpenSearch is a vertical search aggregator based on an open XML standard, so any site that chooses have its search engine results listed in an A9 column (that each user can enable or disable) can take part in the program provided that the site authors are familiar with RSS. This was unveiled by this morning (March 15, 2005) by Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos during the 2005 O'Reilly Emerging Tech conference ((ETech) in San Diego.

I think Google needs to start worrying.

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