Brilliant idea, but…

A9/Amazon is sporting a new Yellow Pages feature, whose claim to fame is its use of photos… Palo […]

A9/Amazon is sporting a new Yellow Pages feature, whose claim to fame is its use of photos…

Palo Alto-based A9 said it compiled the index by covering tens of thousands of miles in trucks equipped with digital cameras and global positioning system, or GPS, receivers.

Pretty amazing… if… okay, I know it is still in beta, but as far as I can tell not a single image I can recognize is right.

Bistro Elan is exactly the kind of business you would want photos for. They have no conspicuous sign, and are nearly hidden by vines. But a search on Palo Alto showed “Bistro Elan” as a listing, and when I clicked it I got this.
Can you imagine showing up at these people’s house?

“Hi, reservation for six!”

The real Bistro Elan, shown here (I took pictures up and down California Avenue to kill time while Philippe made copies in Kinko’s.) Have fun comparing the real photos with the ones Amazon is currently showing. I’m sure this is a temporary issue, but it’s been temporarily wrong all weekend. And with the extensive news coverage, I’m sure I’m not the only one to spot issues. Is this really how they want to launch a ground-breaking feature that introduces their customers to a new body of competency? Hopefully no one is really using it yet.

As an aside, Bistro Elan is a terrific place to eat. One of the best in Palo Alto, IMO.


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  1. 1
    Son of a Pig Farmer

    A9 Block View

    This is the coolest thing (not to come from Yahoo!) I’ve seen announced in a long time. A9 (Amazon’s Search Engine) has strapped systems of digital cameras to several GPS-equipped trucks and have covered the streets of various metropolitan …

  2. 2

    They had Clement Street in San Francisco right. Their interface needs a ton of work as I could not click on a picture to have it tell
    me what it may be or list businesses that may be on that side of the street. It bugs me that it is sitting on top of Yellow Pages as my
    cultural language does not mesh easily with the ones in the Yellow Pages. I love the internet as I thought I would never have to interface
    with another Yellow Page book and now this. Arg! If they adjust the perspective away from the Yellow pages and focus on the person and interacting with the pictures this will be killer. Now it is just cool,
    but very buggy.
    Posted by vanderwal at January 30, 2005 08:49 PM


    The Nut! used to love the fact that they let people smoke in their, to hell with the no-smoking laws, LoL…

    Posted by Lite at January 31, 2005 05:15 AM


    Hey – did you know you can submit your own photos to a9 if you think
    they are better… wouldn’t it be cool if you got some benefit back for
    that – e.g. affiliate moolah, or geopositioning reciprocal tags for the
    same pictrue on your flickr.

    Posted by Matt at January 31, 2005 07:47 AM


    yet all you get is a legal notice telling you you have lost control
    over the pictures forever, and they can use them how they see fit
    (though admittedly it is non-exclusive). I went through the pain of
    uploading one before the effort/reward ratio stopped me.

    Now when they let us link in flickr, we’ll talk. 😉

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