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September 15, 2004

A9- showing the Iceberg Tip of Real Search

Go check out the new release of A9. I have to admit that it takes some time to get used to the idea that your search engine actually remembers what you have searched for and what you thought were good results, but the benefits are too good to ignore. The immediate advantage you will have is the extension of the search category result buttons on the right. Take your search through books, imdb or reference material. At the same time as searching the web. Also if you use the A9 toolbar your browser history will now be available on each machine you log into. See A9's What's Cool page for most features.

Disclaimer: I am employed by A9's parent company, Amazon.com. (but it also meant that I could play with these features before you could).

Posted by Werner Vogels at September 15, 2004 03:34 AM
TrackBacks

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Comments

Great features. I really want these features because I know they would be immediately helpful. Not, perhaps, a great EULA.

Essentially, as you interact with this service, you create content. Saved, honed searches. Notes on web pages, etc. The EULA indicates that A9 owns that content.

I realize that the company providing the service needs to derive value from providing the service. This IP might be what justifies for them providing this service free of charge. I think this commentator is onto something, however. He argues the problem with this kind of "infoware" model is that you give up control of your data.

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/5530

All those saved searches and notes, I at least want to be able to export them and take them somewhere else. Maybe not remove it from their system, but at least have it to take somewhere else or repurpose.

Posted by: Josh Gentry on September 15, 2004 02:23 PM

What do you think of :

INFORMATION COLLECTED AND STORED BY A9.COM'S TOOLBAR SERVICE
A9.COM'S TOOLBAR SERVICE COLLECTS AND STORES FULL UNIFORM RESOURCE LOCATORS ("URLS") FOR EVERY WEB PAGE THAT YOU VIEW WHILE USING THE A9.COM TOOLBAR SERVICE. THESE URLS SOMETIMES INCLUDE PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION. URLS FROM SECURE (HTTPS) WEB PAGES ARE NOT COLLECTED. BY COLLECTING URLS, A9.COM TRACKS AND COLLECTS A RECORD OF USERS' WEB BROWSING ACTIVITY WITHIN AND ACROSS WEBSITES. A9.COM ALSO COLLECTS AND STORES OTHER USER INFORMATION YOU GIVE A9.COM WHEN YOU DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL THE SOFTWARE AND INFORMATION YOU ENTER INTO THE TOOLBAR SERVICE. BECAUSE A9.COM IS A WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY OF AMAZON.COM, INC., A9.COM IS ABLE TO CORRELATE INFORMATION IT COLLECTS WITH PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION THAT AMAZON.COM HAS, AND AMAZON.COM HAS ACCESS TO INFORMATION COLLECTED BY A9.COM. AMONG OTHER THINGS, A9.COM AND AMAZON.COM USE THIS INFORMATION TO CUSTOMIZE, PERSONALIZE, AND OTHERWISE IMPROVE THE SERVICES THEY PROVIDE TO YOU.

Posted by: Bart on September 15, 2004 09:46 PM

I'm a little uneasy about this compilation of an individuals browsing. But I don't see how you can get the value out of the service without that record. Providing that record to the user is one of the main points of the service. Seems pretty unavoidable that they are then going to use that info for the holy grail of targetted marketing.

I guess if I have searching I don't want recorded this way, I'd do it outside the service. I already shop at Amazon and they already track what items I look at.

I'd like to see a client side application that did similiar features, perhaps based on Firefox. I've seen suggestions that Google produce a version of Firefox for this type of application. I guess the question is, what is the payoff for Google or Amazon, etc., if they don't get to capture that data and use it for marketing.

Posted by: Josh Gentry on September 16, 2004 01:08 PM