bezos and mezos

from The Best Search Idea Since Google – How Amazon can make money from books you already own. […]

from The Best Search Idea Since Google – How Amazon can make money from books you already own. By Steven Johnson

“For logical reasons, Amazon seems to have designed “search inside” to help readers find text in books that they haven’t bought yet. But there’s just as much opportunity to apply “search inside” to books you already own. …We tend to think of search requests as generally taking the form of “find me something I’ve never seen before.” But real-life search is often different: You’re looking for something you have seen before, but you’ve somehow mislaid or only half-remembered. ”

An excellent insight.

However, I wonder if this has made the original purpose of search, finding things I don’t have, less effective. I typed “product management” (sans quotes) into the search box as i always do, and was appalled at the results. i’m certain if they had stuck with their old system of title/subject indexing, the results would have been better. Did they do blind-testing for relevance? Is this another instance of the googlitis– that the web search way is the best way to do search?

because it ain’t. index size. context. known content. just three reasons off the top of my head why sites should not adopt a web search approach to site search.

i’m worries.. have they broken my amazon? Maybe I’ll start doing my shopping at Yahoo, and just use Amazon for reference purposes. Hmm, don’t think that will help their business model.

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    a day later, the results were far improved. I posted this to aifia-members list.
    “So get this: the same search is actually better today than it was yesterday.
    I think they are tweaking the algorithm.

    Amazon has always done a good deal of “design in public” with their A-B
    testing and I wonder if it is a strategy (let them see we’re human) or a by
    product of culture (we’re always making things better… why should be let
    people see) or a mistake (whatever, more money, who cares if the interface
    isn’t stable and people are confused)

    I doubt the last, but it’s possible.”

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