Saturday, October 14, 2006 

A9 Drops Maps and Yellow Pages

Today I attempted to log on to A9 Maps, but to my disappointment I was greeted by, "A9 Maps are no longer available." This is a real shame. For those of you unfamiliar with A9, it is Amazon's venture into the search engine business. I never found their web search to be anything special but I did like their Maps and Yellow Pages. Both products had innovative new features. A9 maps, allowed for "block view" images in a bunch of US cities. This feature allowed users to take a virtual walk down a street. This certainly gave you a better feel for an area then Satellite images which are being provided by all other major mapping services. A9's yellow pages were unique in that they provided a click to call button. Users simply needed to enter their phone number, then the phone would ring on their line first and once they picked they would be connected with the number they requested. But now both of these services are no more. I attempted to search the web and the blogosphere for answers as to why these services went down but all I found was a post to their whats new page which provided only the fact that these services were discontinued with no explanation. I sincerely hope that A9 sells their block view images to another mapping company so that this great idea is not lost for ever.

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Monday, October 09, 2006 

Google Buys YouTube for $1.65 Billon

After roomers spilled around the web last week about Google offering $1.65 Billion to buy YouTube, this offer had been confirmed and YouTube has accepted. This announcement makes me wonder what will become of Google's own video hosting service. YouTube clearly has more users than Google Video, which would make me think that Google would want to merge its service into YouTube's. However, I personally prefer Google's flash video player and site interface over YouTube's. I think it would be best for the company to maintain both services separate, much like Yahoo did when they acquired Flickr. However, I wouldn't be surprised if some features, such as the ability to download videos, found their way onto YouTub. I am eagerly awaiting a post to Google's blog based on this subject. Update: Interestingly, no Google blog post on this topic, however they have released a press release on this topic and it appears that Google will handle this acquisition as I anticipated. Both YouTube and Google Video will continue to run independently.

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