A9watch, etc.

News, reviews, and commentary about A9.com, other new search technologies, and related topics. Send news, inquiries, and rants to randalldotnewton atgmaildotcom. Subscribe at http://feeds.feedburner.com/A9watchEtc.

Friday, April 16, 2004

The Value of A9: It’s The Data, Stupid

As usual with any popular two-way blog on a hot topic, the comments section following John Battelle’s original posting about A9 is overflowing with replies. Buried deep in this section is a wise assessment on the value A9 brings to search from Martin Tobias, a venture capitalist with Ignition Partners and founder of Loudeye. Since Tobias’ comments are so deeply buried in the comments section at Battelle’s blog, and since Tobias has not repositioned his comments on his own blog, we offer a summary here.

Comments on specific features are off the mark, Tobias says: “The real invention here, or should I say opportunity for invention, is at the data type level.”

Google, Tobias goes on to point out, is “still just doing HTML scraping. Ask even the Google guys and they will say search is less than 15% done. What is not done are many more datatypes like RSS, Atom, audio, video and lots more both structured and unstructured.”

Tobias then goes on to list A9’s strength, four proprietary databases “that add significant value to the search process.” The four are:

1. An individual’s Amazon preferences and buying habits;
2. Amazon’s personalization engine, arguably the largest e-commerce transaction database in the world;
3. Amazon’s "Search Inside The Book". As Tobias notes, “There is more content in books than on the web (and much higher value);”
4. The Amazon SKU database.

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