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Amazon A9 Search Engine: CEO Q&A

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Yesterday there was a lively keynote by Udi Manber, the ceo of Amazon’s A9 search engine.

For clarification purposes, A9 is a wholey owned subsidiary of Amazon and the questions were given by the audience at the conference and not by me personally. I’m merely the messenger this time and not the questioner. The best answer Udi gave was when he was asked what the difference between Google’s keyhole application and A9′s image features, read on to see his responses.

Q: What happens when a business shuts down? How do you know and what do you do about it?

A: Customers and users give us feedback and once we drive the entire country we’ll drive it again. We’re not stopping after the first passthrough.

Q: Are you going to charge for yellow page listings?

A: Currently sponsored links fund this section and it is free. No comment on future business development plans.

Q: How does it compare to Google’s keyhole?

A: Google comes from above and A9 comes in from the side. [the crowd erupted in laughter after that response]

Q: Are you considering licensing data?

A: Yes, if the right partnership presents itself then yes.

Q: Is the click per call feature free?

A: Yes and the technology that drives it is from eStara.

Q: What about the privacy issues of people being photographed that don’t want to be? How are you dealing with those?

A: The person needs to contact A9 and we’ll do whatever we need to do in order to remedy the situation, including removing the image from A9. However, taking pictures on the streets is part of the public domain.

Q: How do you validate the data consumers put up when they review a business or post images of a business?

A: It’s free for anyone in general. [huh?] A9 highlight the users real name and have algorithms in place to perform quality checks in real time so the editorial process is as human free as possible.

Q: Do you plan on competing with Google and how do you plan on making money? [from Barbara Coll ;)]

A: We don’t think of Google as a competitor, we’re only focusing on our own product. And I have no comment about forward thinking business development or features.

Q: What kind of feedback are you getting?

A: Lots of great feedback. People are using Flickr to post their most interesting images found on A9 and others have created ways to make panoramic pictures of streets from the images found on A9. The feedback has been really well received.

Jason Dowdell is a technology entrepreneur and operates the Marketing Shift blog.

Amazon A9 Search Engine: CEO Q&A
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