A9 is the new search engine made by Amazon. A critic by John Battelle's Searchblog:
After all, A9 uses Google' search results and displays at least two paid AdWord listings per result (I've requested comment from Google, you can imagine I'm not the only one...). But I have to wonder: What business is Google in, after all? Is it still in the business of just search - as it was back when it was cutting search provisioning deals right and left, with Yahoo (already ended), AOL (arguable imperiled due to Gmail and other trends), Ask, and Amazon? Is it really still in the business of being an OEM to others, a strategy which allowed it to steal those portals' customers? Or...has it evolved, to a business where it owns a large customer base, one it must now position itself to defend?
One could argue that A9 is a pure commerce play, not a search portal. After all, that's what the folks at Amazon insisted when they founded the company and located it in the heart of Google/YahooLand (ie, Palo Alto). But that argument is disingenuous. First off, take a look at the A9 interface. Where's the commerce? (Answer, it's there, but it's hidden, more on that later when I post on the service itself). And second, I'd argue that you can't really be in the commerce business without having at least a strategy for owning search. The reverse also hold true. It's two ends toward the middle, and by the way, that middle ground is getting damn crowded - AOL, Yahoo, MSN, eBay, IAC, Amazon, Google...
What makes this particularly noteworthy is that A9 is built quite literally on top of Google. In short, Amazon has taken the best of Google, and made it, to my mind, a lot better. Sound familiar? Yup, it's what Google did to Yahoo, Yahoo to Netscape...you get the picture.