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A9 has worked in 3 areas over the years.
A9 Product Search is responsible for the search engine driving the shopping experience for Amazon.com and its partners. Sites such as Target, Marks & Spencers and Endless also use the same platform. The search engine serves the search boxes, the category browsing experience, searching within books, and the Look Inside feature of searching through pages.
Clickriver is a portal that allows advertisers to easily advertise on Amazon.com. The interface is similar to Google's AdWords.
A9.com, which went live on April 14, 2004, is an Internet search engine from Amazon.com. Its results derive from Bing (formerly known as "Live Search"), supplemented by Alexa, Amazon.com, and other engines for specific search types.
A9 has many features which many popular search engines lack. In addition to generic web searching, A9 has the ability to search the book results from Amazon.com that include "Search Inside the Book" (as long as a user registers with Amazon.com). Its interface allows users to combine search results together, allowing side by side comparison of results.
A9.com makes use of various search engines for specific uses:
Over 400 additional search services can be added.
The release of A9 was met with some controversy, since it records all of a user's searches and links them to the person's Amazon.com account. A9's privacy statement says:
In January 2005, A9.com added its "BlockView" feature to the Yellow Pages and Maps searches, allowing users to view photos of businesses on many streets in over 24 major U.S. cities after searching for a business name in that city (as of January 2006). Users can also scroll up and down the street view (i.e., up and down the block, hence the name of the feature) in order to see images of other nearby businesses and the areas surrounding them. A9.com planned to continually add new images from a large number of U.S. cities, however the company is no longer offering BlockView to the public.
On September 29, 2006 Amazon discontinued several of the components of A9, including A9 Instant Reward, the A9 Toolbar, A9 Yellow Pages, A9 Maps (including Block View), as well as all other personalization features including the diary, bookmarks, and history.