Update: As of January 2009, A9 has been updated to a product search site within Amazon.com.
What is A9.com?A9.com is a sleekly elegant search engine put together by Amazon and powered in part by both Google and A9.com itself - when you execute a search, at the bottom of the page in tiny little print you'll see this statement: "Search results enhanced by Google. Results also provided by a9.com and Alexa."
The first thing I noticed about A9.com is that they knew who I was - by name. Since I was already signed into Amazon, A9.com had my information. In order to get access to much of what A9.com has to offer, you're going to want to either sign in using your Amazon account or create a new one.
A9.com Search PageOnce you have made your way to the A9.com home page, you'll see the standard input-query bar, as well as some new features. Let's go over those one by one.
A9.com Home Page Search OptionsRight off the bat, you'll notice you have quite a few search options offered to you in the form of check boxes. Web and Images are checked by default, but you also have Movies, Your Bookmarks, Books, Blog Search, Wikipedia, Yellow Pages, Your History, Reference, and Your Diary. In addition to all that, there is a drop-down menu titled "More Choices" that gives you, well, more choices. Some of these include the New York Times, PubMed, NASA, and Flickr.
Click any of these boxes, and your search results will reflect your new options. For instance, my search query "search engine" got me a results page with the main Web results on the far left, Images in the middle,and Movie results (provided by the Internet Movie Database) on the far right. I tried another search, unchecking the boxes on the search results page and checking others, and instantly my search results changed with new columns appearing right in front of me. Pretty slick.
A9.com ToolsOkay, back to the main A9.com search page. You'll see a box roughly in the middle of your browser window with tabs saying About Tools, Your History, Your Bookmarks, Your Diary, and Discover. What does all this mean? I'll let A9.com answer.
- Tools: Since you are signed in to A9.com, you get access to several tools that personalize your search experience.(again, you need to sign in - this is a theme.)
- Your History:We allow you to record a trail of all sites you have seen. You can search that trail at any time. A9 Toolbar users can turn this feature on and off with one click. (If you want to get the toolbar, check it out at A9.com's Toolbar Page. Compatible with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape.)
- Your Bookmarks:We provide you with server-side Bookmarks that will always be available (and searchable) from anywhere.(This is a GREAT feature that I'm already a fan of.)
- Your Diary: We let you create notes as you browse the web. We store them for you and allow you to search them later.(Great idea for research.)
- Discover:We recommend sites that may be interesting to you based on what you have seen in the past and what people like you are seeing now.
Earn Amazon Money with A9.comKind of a neat way to promote their search feature. A9.com has a great incentive for you to search with them - your searches on A9.com will make you eligible to save an additional 1.57% on virtually all your purchases at Amazon.com. Find out more in my article titled How to Search a9.com and Get Amazon Instant Rewards.
Why Should I Use A9.com?Here are a few reasons I will use A9.com:
- Ease of use. An uncluttered home page and fast, simple results will win my vote anytime.
- Cool features. The more I used A9.com, the more it personalized my search queries. That's a cutting edge/cool/make my life easier kind of thing.
- Many options. You can turn personalized search off or on, you can search from many different search tools at once, you can streamline your searches, etc. Lots of ways to play with this.
Note: Search engines change frequently, so the information in this article can and will get outdated as more information or features about A9.com are released.