I hadn’t noticed this until yesterday, but Google is no longer the guts of A9 & Amazon search. According to this article, A9’s contract with Google expired and they decided to go with Microsoft for the replacement.
I tried “v for vendetta” as a search in both A9.com and Google to see how the results differed (if at all). In my case, the top 6 links from A9 were to the V for Vendetta website by Warner Brothers (hits 1-2), its IMDB entry (hits 3-4), its Wikipedia entry, and its Rotten Tomatoes review. Google gave me the same hits, in almost the same order. The only difference was that the top result returned showtimes for the movie close to my zip code. A9 actually provides that info too, you just have to check the “Movies” option.
It looks like Microsoft’s search has actually improved somewhat since I last tried it. I’ll be curious to see what moves Google and Yahoo make to try and stay top two in market share.
When I talked to my friend Sandro about the switch and told him what search term I used, he suggested I use a tougher search term to test the relevance of lower-level results. We compared the results of searching for his name “Sandro Fouche” between Google and Live.com. With Google, I had to go to the 50th result to find the first irrelevant result. With Live.com, I got an irrelevant result as early as the 10th result.