New Amazon Search Portal

Relates to SEO and XUL

This entry is a little late in the day, since with massive work commitments I forgot to post it, but on 14th April, Amazon released a beta version of its new search portal, A9.com. As well as the search results (supplied by Google), the portal offers two additional panels - Book Results shows results from an Amazon search on the keywords; Search History provides a chronological and actual history of keywords searched. The latter feature can be integrated with the browsing history offered by the A9 Tool Bar (IE only!) to offer quite a powerful tracking mechanism for intensive searches. A9 also offers a simple query mechanism direct through the URL by simply typing the keywords after the base URL (eg <a href="http://a9.com/severn solutions">http://a9.com/severn solutions</a>) - beneficial for those browsers that don't offer Quick Search features.

John Battelle discusses the Amazon/Google relationship in this venture, and the potential opportunities provided by the search history facility, while Resource Shelf plucks out some of the current weaknesses of the current beta release.

The Tool Bar offers a number of additional features. However, as is so often the case with search tool bars, it is only compatible with IE. Perhaps, someone has already followed the step taken by relatively new Eurekster to produce a XUL version of the tool bar for the blossoming number of Mozilla and co users. As for the design of the portal interface with three resizable panels: It is clear and usable on the major web browsers, but perhaps accessibility could be improved - Lynx illustrates the reliance of the panels on client-side scripting where they fail to work.

Posted on Saturday, Apr 24, 2004 at 15:07:18.

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