When it came to selling books online, Barnes & Noble found that the only prize for coming second, was coming last. Ironically, Amazon's new search division, A9 are now doing their best to prove this dictum wrong by chasing after Google and Yahoo.
The latest battlefield is the hotly contested space for local search results. Online local search providers integrate data from Yellow Pages publishers, map information services and search algorithms - all in an effort to displace the uncanny effectiveness of those ancient yellow tomes that now make handy door stops.
In an effort to trump their opponents, Amazon has announced a curious new feature - actual photos of local businesses. To achieve this feat, they apparently loaded up a fleet of high tech SUVs deployed across 10 cities, to map streets and compile more than 20 million photos of businesses. So now, you will be overjoyed to know that in addition to finding a local Chinese restaurant and getting a map location, you can see in advance whether it looks like a dive or not.
With those kind of vehicle resources at its fingertips, perhaps 'Earth's Biggest Bookstore' should try their hands at some other useful local community services like garbage disposal or milk delivery. There must be a business case for that, surely!