Amazon hasn't gotten very far in its stab at the search industry. Just about the only thing that A9 is known for is its attempt to combine local search and on-the-ground pictures. But driving around to collect pictures is an expensive process, and so far, it's Google's simple maps that have become the standard for visually representing local search. So it's no surprise that A9 is eliminating the picture feature, as it probably realized that the cost of continuing the process wasn't worth it for the amount of use the service was getting. That doesn't mean that the idea isn't worth pursuing. The popularity of Google Earth and other satellite imaging services suggests a demand for having pictures of a location. But more than likely, the solution to this problem will be of the (warning: buzzword coming) crowdsourced variety, as users submit their own pictures to be matched up with a location. Yahoo's Flickr allows users to upload photos associated with a specific location. As for A9, it recently lost some top talent to Google, and is stuck as the 32nd (who are the 31 in front of them?) most popular search engine, so throwing in the towel on the picture project may be a signal that the company realizes it doesn't have much to bring to search.
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