So the big search noise last week was A9's launch of their new search interface. I got a quick glimpse of some of the thinking behind it at Foo Camp when talking with Udi (A9's founder and CEO) and some other folks.
What I didn't notice until now (and haven't read much about) is this "diary" feature they offer. According to the on-line help:
What is the A9 Diary?
The A9 Diary is a feature that allows you to easily take notes on any web page, and see them whenever you visit that page, on any computer that you use, as well as find them through search or through a list of all your diary entries maintained at diary.a9.com
How do I use the Diary?
To use the Diary, you need the A9 Toolbar. Once you have the A9 Toolbar, just click the Diary button on the toolbar. The Diary bar will open and will be ready for your entries. You will notice that there isn’t a save button anywhere. You don’t need one! Your entries are automatically saved whenever you stop typing or when you go to another page. Another click on the diary button closes the text area.
How do I see my diary entries?
To see you entry, just go back to the page with your entry. The diary bar will automatically open, and the diary entry you left for that page will be shown. If you don’t remember the specific page you made a note on, you can search them on A9.com (use regular search and open the diary column). A list of all your diary entries is available at diary.a9.com, as well as the diary columns on the A9 home page and on search results.
So the A9 Diary let's you leave a note to yourself about a particular web site that you might have run across while searching. And since the data is stored in A9, it follows you to whatever computer you might be using.
It's a really interesting idea and I'd like to play with it a bit. We've long needed a browser-neutral way to annotate web sites (bookmarks could have solved this if done right), but sadly it requires the A9 Toolbar, which is IE/Windows only (for now). Oh, well.
Beyond that, I'm thinking more and more about a point I made the other day--that A9 is a departure for the "lean and mean" interface for searching. They're really trying to build a "search environment" of sorts. And they're not alone. It sounds like Ask Jeeves is on a similar but different path. More on that later.
These are interesting times indeed.
Posted by jzawodn at September 20, 2004 10:58 PM