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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 April, 2004, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Amazon opens its own search store
A9 search page, A9
A9 has had a quiet launch
Online retailer Amazon has quietly launched its own search engine.

Created by an Amazon subsidiary called A9, the test version of the search engine puts its own gloss on results and adverts culled from Google.

A9 allows standard web searches as well as results from searching the text inside books offered on Amazon.

In recent weeks net search has become a hot topic as several big firms such as Yahoo and Microsoft start to unveil plans for their own-brand search sites.

Google is not standing still either. It has launched a local search system that uses web addresses to tailor adverts to the place someone is searching from.

Your history here

The trial search site has close links with the Amazon store as its advanced features are accessed by signing in with a user name from the online shop.

The advanced features include a record of every search ever made via the A9 page.

This search history is kept by A9 and can be accessed from any web-connected computer.

Anyone repeating a search will be shown what has changed since the last time they searched for that subject or words.

The book search results and the search history are contained in collapsible bars on the right hand side of the page that can be expanded by clicking and dragging.

Like many other search sites A9 has both a stand alone page and a downloadable toolbar that lets people consult it no matter what other page they are currently looking at.

The toolbar also includes a notepad that lets people jot down notes about the sites they visit.

It can also block pop-up ads and gives information about the sites being visited.

Searches can also be limited just to products for sale on the Amazon site.

Currently all the results A9 returns, and some adverts, are generated using Google.

An A9 spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the company would eventually make and use its own search engine.

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