Where 2.0

Udi Manber presenting for Amazon.com spinoff A9.

The audience had all pretty much seen A9 already; there were some interface details, but nothing radically new. In particular, A9 is the only major player without an earth-themed big round thing application.

Left to right: google earth ("We're going to give you evasive, noncommital answers. We don't have to care. We're not evil. Muhahaha."), Microsoft virtual earth ("Community is what we're really about. Would my puppy-dog eyes lie to you?"), and Yahoo 360 ("Yes, we think local search is a good idea, that's why we've been doing it for four years. Shouldn't we get a cake or something?")

But back to Udi Manber. A9 is the only major player who has ground-level snapshots of the world. Those snapshots are taken by camera vans that automatically stream pictures directly to hard disk and, ultimately, the web.

When a van was parked in Washington, it attracted the attention of various government security services. "Is there a film in the camera?" "No," answered the driver - truthfully. There wasn't a film; it all goes directly to hard disk. As a consequence, A9 was left with about 30 minutes' worth of footage of agents milling about in front of the camera, which they've cut into a very entertaining short clip. I wish I had a copy, but all I have are a bunch of blurry snapshots, because I was laughing so hard.