I've long been fascinated by France Telecom's Yellow Pages site, Pages Jaunes that I wrote about last year. Why? The directory features millions of pictures of virtually all buildings in the cities that the directory covers. You can literally "walk around" in Paris, Madrid and other cities using this cool system. But nothing like it has ever been available in the U.S.
That's now changed. Amazon's A9 has launched a similar service, starting off with coverage of ten major U.S. cities. The key difference is that Amazon automated the process of photographing and geotagging the cities, and was able to pull this impressive feat off in just under a couple of months. And they plan to aggressively add cities to their visual yellow pages over the coming year.
My SearchDay article, Amazon's A9 Launches Visual Yellow Pages, covers this seriously cool new service. Up until now, A9 has largely been a Google flavored service with some useful additional tools. No longer. A9 has thrown its hat into the ring of the very competitive online yellow pages/local search space. I doubt the other players will stand still, so it's a safe bet we're going to see a lot of interesting developments in this area get deployed over the coming months.