Amazon A9's Visual Yellow Pages


So, the big news overnight was Amazon's A9 launching their Optical Yellow Pages.

The idea is that on top of the fairly standard way that online yellow pages work users can view thumbnails of the actual storefront, like the one above - but there's more: You can take a trip down the street! "Walk" to the left or right of the shop and view other storefronts to get a feel for the neighborhood. At first it seems (at least to me) a bit gimmicky but then when I thought about a bit more, perhaps not. Seeing a tatty disreputable storefront would put me off going to buy something but seeing a nice street with other interesting stuff might well make me want to visit - not gimmicky, useful. Follow the title link for more.

From Chris Sherman's SearchDay article

"We allow people from their computer to look at the street, to walk to the left, to walk to the right, to see the neighborhood, to see parking—it's virtually like you're there," said Udi Manber, president of "Pictures get you information faster than any other way. Very often you remember a place but not its name. This is a very easy way to find it."

To create this system, A9 developed technology that combined digital cameras, GPS location systems and other hardware, and equipped vehicles with this technology to capture images of buildings and geotag them with location information. The company then hired drivers to cover "tens of thousands of miles" to acquire images, according to Manber.

Further Reading on A9's Visual Yellow Pages

Love the feature, but the tech they use to do it is even cooler...


Does your local search have horsepower?

The future of local search is already here.

If you are looking for a business in your local area, you should try to go and browse the Myspace-type business profiles.

The website has just launched and I find it very helpful and interesting. Tell me your opinion...

Edit: You don't want my opinion.


All those "Why would Google need VOIP" and "How can Google monetize VOIP" thoughts need readdressing eh? ;O)

Search for city, hotel. Get special Adwords ad that says "connect to front desk", hit the button and you are straight through to reservations. Pay Per Call all through Google.

Can't resist

This could also be a great way to preview adult stores in your neighborhood

famous nyc playpen store

Cool Pics found on A9Local

Some cool shots there :-)

Thanks Gurtie

I didn't know amazon had a voip thing on this beast? From here:

Yet A9's Manber hopes that additions like voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, technology that lets users call a business with a click of a button will draw more people to the local search service.

you have to read the link really - lots of titbits..

so many threads here this applies to but since this was the first I found I'll just quote this bit.

Also, Inc. (AMZN.O: Quote, Profile, Research) late on Wednesday announced a local search service that uses voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP, to directly connect users to businesses they have located via Amazon's A9 Web search service.

Yet another signal of's integration / innovation

While Google keeps buying / making often-cool and gee-whiz stuff, they're sure lagging behind in integrating all the stuff. Picasa is disconnected from Google Images. Keyhole doesn't yet integrate with anything else Google. Orkut? Don't get me started.

But Amazon/A9 just keeps adding -- and integrating -- stuff in really neat ways. I just typed in a restaurant name, and A9 remembers my location, shows me images of the restaurant, the storefront, a map, and reviews.

I wonder when A9 will start to get traction, though. As of yet, only my geekerati friends have even heard of it, and most of them still don't use it.

One more thing, though: I do have to say that Keyhole could do this better. I'd love to be able to not only walk through, but fly OVER a street and see (perhaps in bubble/capsule format) exactly what shops are where. Clicking one step to the right and left in a jerky format and trying to read billboards just doesn't cut it exploration-wise.

In other words... this A9 feature is pretty useful for those of us in metro areas who KNOW what we're looking for (a dentist, the Sunflower Restaurant, etc.), but Keyhole could be a boon for those of us who are wondering "Hmm... what cool stuff is near my new gym?" and so on.

It's great but.....

Where's the UK block view :(

A lot to be desired

The visual thing is fun if you live in a mega metro area (which I and a lot of other people don't). It was fun for about 30 seconds. I certainly wouldn't call the feature useful. I'd call it PR.

Usability wise, this thing is horrid. Being an Amazon product, that surprised me. Their main site is the "vision" of usability to aspire too. Apparently, the same team didn't work on the yellow pages.

A9 Introduces the Visual Yellow Pages

Wow! A9's "block view" is trying to change the way we interact with the Yellow Pages. Try it: "starbucks seattle" brings up listings like this one for Starbucks. A decade ago, who would have thought we would be able to...

Like any other automated process

Nick W - within an hour TW'ers are already working out ways to spam it!

LOL, seems like amazon/A9 are very proud in their new project -

The whole process (except for the driving!) is completely automatic, making it fast and efficient. Block View allows users to see storefronts and virtually walk up and down the streets of currently more than 10 U.S. cities using over 20 million photographs. We are driving and at some point hope to cover the whole country.

Promising . . .

There was some other company that let you "walk" the NYC streets, but this is the first I've seen pictures involved. Some pictures have problems, bad lighting, big trucks, too much sun. And almost all pictures are not mapped correctly, they appear to be off about 100 feet. But this is a fun concept to handle the online yellow pages. I hope they expand the pictures to all major cities and that they provide a timely feedback system to ensure correctly mapped pictures and allow for retakes. I'm sure this will not make many merchants in the chinatown area of NYC happy. These merchants normally have terrible looking storefronts, but they do offer the best products that have fallen off the back of the truck :)


...been looking for a break ever since Wiki started using re1=n0f0110w... {grin}

Kidding of course...


I post about Yellow Pages and within an hour TW'ers are already working out ways to spam it!


I see big advertising opportunities...

Just for fun I tried the never seen before NYC example on Clicked #6 (at random) and started walking to the right. All of a sudden a BIG TRUCK is blocking the view, brand name and address showing clearly...

So all it takes is to work out when the A9 posse goes out a-shootin' (photographs - that is). Then move a big truck with your name on exactly in front of your local competitor's store, and hey presto: A9-YP-hijacking is born :-)

Will be useful

When they make it work for a city or even country I give a hoot about ;O)