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Thursday, April 15, 2004

Search turned Find with launch of the A9 Beta

With the launch of the A9-search engine searching became finding. I am impressed, happy that someone is making such an effort in helping people find stuff. Google need some stimuli, not that they are lazy, but competition always sharpens the mind.

There are several issues that are very interesting with A9:

1. The merger with 'Search within the book'-feature which quite quickly will become the worlds largest library searchable online.

2. The browser agnostic search history, which in a mobile context will be wonderful as typing is difficult, particularly if they involve URL’s.

3. The name is short, which in mobile context is very good.

4. Searches get personalized and there will be lots of contextual (metadata) information by applying the concept of 'People who visited this page also visited that page', which we know so well from Amazon. This should create a quantum leap in results.

In my brief test with Series 60 based Nokia 6600 using Opera A9 seemed to work very well. I would however like to see a slightly more condensed layout for mobiles, where screen real-estate is scarce. See attached screen shot and the good comment below from Jean-Yves.

The page loaded fast enough, I will at some point compare the Google and A9 via mobile.

I am a big fan of both Amazon and Google, and both companies share a deep goal to help humans educate or entertain themselves, during Easter I found myself spending maybe two hours in Amazon and it was a nice and somewhat expensive tour in the virtual mall.
As they now are competitors I hope they try hard to do good, not evil. - At least that is what they claim in their disclaimers and/or visions.

One of the key assets Google have is a verb. People might still 'google' when they actually are 'anining' (I am not sure if 'anining' would stick on the tongues globally. It looks weird written in both forms and phonetically is hard to globalize). I am curious who thought of that name, it will be interesting to see if it sticks. (There is a good explanation below, thanks!)...My silly theory of it being the guys in Seattle behind K2, and T9 got trashed.

As Google leverages their platform into 'shopping' and 'news' services, and then the leverage advertising bigtime they become a portal and then hmmm....they dissapear. The challenge is ads take up pixels and so do the content and what is more important for the stock owners of a public company looking for short term profits...OK I am speculating ahead of time...

What I still have to digest is that all my page visits get stored on the Amazon server, once logged in and provided I turn on history tracking. I registered offcourse, but will I like it tomorrow, lets see. I saw a collague today and he said no thanks.

A9 is another one of these Orkut style lets capture alot of meta data machines...will be interesting to follow the debate about privacy.

11:07 PM in Work | Permalink


I don't know it A9 detects mobile browsers. If not, Google is much more mobile friendly at the moment:

A search for "imode" on A9 results in a page of 32kb.
A search for "imode" on google results in a page of 14kb.
A search for "imode" on results in a page of.. 2,3kb (14 times less than A9).

I wonder how they want to use or expand this :

A company had made a similar colaborative browsing feature where you could chat with the people browsing the same page as you at the same moment.

Will we be able to see the comments of other people diaries ? Syndication feeds ?

I wonder if they use W3C's technology or not ?


Posted by: JY at Apr 16, 2004 12:48:25 AM

About the name "A9"

Manber, who leads it, came up with the name by running a simple compression algorithm on the word algorithms. Algorithms begins with A and is followed by nine other letters. When Manber explains the name to me, he notes mischievously that another word can be identically compressed: Alexandria.,1294,60948,00.html

Posted by: FN at Apr 16, 2004 6:51:01 AM

Google is just as happy as you--they get paid when you click the ads. If you notice, A9 is powered by Google.

Posted by: Jon Gales at Apr 17, 2004 12:28:46 AM

I'm going to put a short item up on my blog tonight, about what A9 means. The company's rep says, "Really it's just an eye-catching name." I'll mention the comment above, and other "speculation" about the name.

Randall Newton
A9watch (

Posted by: Randall Newton at Apr 21, 2004 7:27:48 AM

That sounds good, I am not sure the name choice was that good, the impossibility of 'verbification' is a huge thing.

Posted by: Christian Lindholm at Apr 21, 2004 7:02:55 PM