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Search Is On At Amazon

A9.com subsidiary lets users access bookmarks and histories from any computer

A9.com Inc., a subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc., last week launched a search site that will compete with Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

The A9.com site, which the company started testing in April, delivers search results from several sources, including more than 100,000 Amazon titles, the Internet Movie Database, GuruNet.com's reference information, and Google's Web and image index. Google provides the bulk of A9's search results, ads, and revenue through an ad-revenue-sharing agreement. But the relationship won't last, predicts Chris Winfield, president and co-founder of search-engine marketing firm 10E20. "It's just a matter of time before the licensing deal goes away," he says. "They'll be building their own search [technology]."

A9 is focused on the user experience, not competitors, CEO Udi Manber says. "That's what we're going after," he says. A9 stores an individual's bookmarks, search history, and diary on its servers, so they're available from any computer. For users concerned about privacy, a mirror of A9 offers searches without any personalization or sign-in required. Users also can delete their data from A9's servers.

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