Virtual flâneur

Amazon’s A9 search engine is impressive, offering smooth, dynamic filtering of results and nice integration with the store and affiliated sites, but I’ve never been able to use it exclusively. It is tough to go cold turkey from Google’s simplicity. Actually, some of A9 is powered by Google, so maybe the strategy is not to dominate, but to provide certain niche services or enhanced applications. If so, A9’s new Yellow Pages search fits that bill nicely.

Amazon sure doesn’t shy away from brute-effort labor-intensive data entry. A while ago they hired transcriptionists to enter the text from thousands of books so you could search “inside the book” for most of their titles. Now they’ve paid a phalanx of digital photogs to capture images block-by-block in major cities so that you can actually walk up and down streets virtually as you search for services, products, and the like. Is this screaming for a head-mounted display and GPS integration, or what?