A9 Lets the Pictures Do the Talking

John Battelle has a big scoop on Business 2.com: A9 has just announced A9 Yellow Pages. Well, what it is that when you do a search for say, Joe’s Pizza in San Francisco, not only does the information pop-up, but there is also a photograph of the Joe making the pizza.

A9 strapped GPS-enabled digital videocamera-cum-terabyte server rigs to the top of a bunch of SUVs, and drove them around the commercial districts of major U.S. metropolitan areas, recording what became composite still pictures of entire cities, one address at a time. Tens of thousands of miles later, they had more than 20 million images of over 14 million businesses in 10 cities, and they aren’t done yet. A9 then created a local search application it calls Block View. It’s pretty darn cool, incorporating a lot of Javascript and other tricks to let you “walk” up and down the block. (You can’t turn a corner yet, but you can look at the other side of the street.) A9 then integrated Block View with Yellow Pages listings (from Axiom) and voilà — local search with a visual cue.

Now as an aside, think about this application – take away broadband – and what you will get is you screaming profanities like Donald Duck. Broadband, its the glue that makes every cool thing happen!