A9 has debuted a neat new local search product today, which I am covering for Business 2.0 (the actual story will post shortly, this link is to a blog entry about the story on B 2′s blog). This is a big deal for A9, and for Amazon – a blending of search and commerce models that has some interesting implications. Excerpt:
In short, Manber and co. (urged on by Jeff Bezos, who Manber says was “very involved”) strapped GPS-enabled digital video camera-cum-terabyte server rigs to the top of a bunch of SUVs, then drove them around the commercial areas of major US metropolitan areas, recording what then became composite still pictures of entire cities, one address at a time. A9 took more than 20 million images of 14 million+ businesses across ten cities (more are coming soon), then created a local search application they call Block View.
UPDATE: Here’s the actual story I wrote….