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Amazon Tries Hand at Search

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NEW YORK Amazon.com quietly rolled out a search service yesterday at A9.com that delivers search listings and book results based on queries, as well as registered users' search and click histories.

A9.com, a separately operated subsidiary of the Seattle-based online shopping behemoth, is the latest entrant into the crowded search-engine space that is dominated by the likes of Google and Yahoo!

Search result links on A9.com are accompanied by a "site info" button, which takes users to a page resembling a shopping results page on Amazon.com. The page contains a summary of that particular Web site, as well statistics and customer reviews on the site. Sponsored links appear alongside this information.

A9.com also provides book results that refer users to books on Amazon.com related to their query. When a user sees a book excerpt below a result, they can click on the page number to see the actual page from the book if they are a registered Amazon.com user.

The service, currently in beta, also provides registered users a history of their searches and their clicks. The click history, for instance, marks results that a user has clicked on before.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based A9.com is also encouraging people to download its toolbar, which has a pop-up blocker, among many other features.