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October 23, 2003

Search inside the book

Amazon.com has just introduced an incredible new feature. Now when searching for books, it doesn't just look for keywords in the title and author -- it looks in the actual content of the book! Pretty amazing stuff.

I actually found this really useful today. Years ago, I read a book by (at the time) a new Australian author. It was a bit of a pulp thriller, but I really enjoyed it, and I've been meaning to see what the author has written since then. Problem was, I couldn't remember the title of the book or the author. I tried a couple of Google searches as I recall but could never work out what the book was. But today I searched for "antarctica seal marines invisibility" (yes, the book did touch on all these plot points!) and found Ice Station as the sixth search result. Brilliant!

It looks as thought they've done a wholesale scanning of a large collection of books, and then used OCR to create the search corpus. I noticed a couple of transcription errors, but on the whole it seems to work pretty well. Try it out!

Posted by david at October 23, 2003 02:34 PM | TrackBack
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Comments

David,

I'm working on a story for the New York Times about this feature on Amazon.com and I'd like to follow up with you. How can I reach you? I'm at [email protected]

Thanks much,
Lisa
Technology Reporter

Posted by: Lisa Guernsey on October 30, 2003 02:20 PM

Lisa, I sent you an email with my contact details.

Posted by: david on October 30, 2003 04:21 PM

Why do the reporters always quote YOU? Now I'm jealous!

Posted by: jay on October 30, 2003 04:28 PM

Lisa interviewed me about this topic this morning. With luck, I'll be quoted in an article in the Circuit section on Thursday 6th.

Posted by: david on October 31, 2003 08:54 AM

In the NYT, you failed to mention that the user must give his/her email address AND CREDIT CARD NUMBER. Get real.

Posted by: skooter on November 7, 2003 07:57 AM

The reporter was certainly aware of it, but didn't include it in the article, I guess because it had been covered earlier. I case it wasn't clear, I didn't write the article.

Anyway, what's the big deal? It's clearly a measure to prevent automated bots from scraping all of Amazon's scanned book content. You don't get charged for merely searching the book database. Seems fair to me. And if you're an Amazon customer (like me) you'll never even notice the requirement as they'll already have your CC details on file.

Posted by: david on November 7, 2003 08:28 AM

Hi
I would like 2 find info ,about my Grandfarther that died before I was born.His namw was Clifford
Eales.He went by Cliff.He was born in Cal,Sac on May19,his Mouther name was Mod, who came here from Wales,Enngland.His faRTHER DIDED when he was about 2,his Mother dided when he was about 19.He married Charla Lyns,had a daughter Susan Lyn and a son Steven.He raised his kids in Sac,while working for Colcolc/Pepice.Cliff later divoriced Charla and dided of cancer.I really hope I can find info about him.Sorry if my e-mail was 2 long Thanks .Chaela George.P.S.sorry about spelling mistakes.

Posted by: Char on June 17, 2004 07:45 PM

Hi
I would like 2 find info ,about my Grandfarther that died before I was born.His namw was Clifford
Eales.He went by Cliff.He was born in Cal,Sac on May19,his Mouther name was Mod, who came here from Wales,Enngland.His faRTHER DIDED when he was about 2,his Mother dided when he was about 19.He married Charla Lyns,had a daughter Susan Lyn and a son Steven.He raised his kids in Sac,while working for Colcolc/Pepice.Cliff later divoriced Charla and dided of cancer.I really hope I can find info about him.Sorry if my e-mail was 2 long Thanks .Chaela George.P.S.sorry about spelling mistakes.

Posted by: Char on June 17, 2004 07:45 PM
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