[ETECH] A9 as a search portal - Amazon defines "Searchlets"

Jeff Bezos talked about a new feature of A9 which allows the basic A9 Search Page to be extended by anyone, using what I am calling “Searchlets.” Here’s an explanation…


If you’ve looked at A9 you’ve seen the various “vertical” result regions that you can ask for – there are a handful built in, including for example the yellow pages result which shows you photographs of the establishments identified.


A9 is now providing an API allowing anyone to extend this with their own, specialized search result engine – a cute pun on “vertical.” Here’s how you choose from a collection. What they are letting users do is to add “searchlets” to the A9 “Search portal.”


This is a very interesting move – both for the clever insight of making it extensible and for the strategic questions it raises, for example:



  • Will Amazon “unbundle” their own core search verticals?

  • Can anyone build a search portal providing this same API?

  • What does this mean to Amazon and A9?

  • What does it mean to Google and Yahoo?

Think about this: if A9’s cool Yellow Pages search (which includes the images) was available as a “searchlet” and Google allows the user to add tabs using the A9 Searchlet API, then what happens?

Posted on March 15, 2005 and filed under Technology.