Amazon’s Search Engine – Alexandria II

Amazon made some news today. They’ve just launched a gigantic digital library containing more than 120,000 titles, with the goal of quickly incorporating a lot more. The interesting thing is that these are not ebooks. Yes, all the text is contained in a database. Yes, you can search it. Your search brings back a list of links with short excerpts, and the links take you to pictures of the book’s pages. The pages are beautifully scanned and very readible. You can browse forward and back a couple of pages. But then… you need to buy the book.

I’ve been following the development of the library for a couple of months – and wondering when it would launch. They surprised me by going live this morning – and they surprised my editors at Wired, too. My piece has been posted on Wired News, here. I’m having fun trying out the tool over at Amazon right now.

[Alexandria II is what I first heard it called at Amazon. The official name is “Search Inside the Book.”]

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