Sunday, February 06, 2005

A9's photo mania lacks focus

You can't find a picture of the Statue of Liberty in the semi-illustrated Yellow Pages recently introduced by A9. If you squint, however, you can see a nice shot of the China Shalom Glatt Kosher restaurant hiding behind a tree on Columbus Avenue.

The new semi-illustrated Yellow Pages, which are in beta mode, are plagued by woeful incompleteness and inconsistency, which presumably can be ironed out with a massive investment of time and money. But I don't know if it is worth it.

Amazon has sacrificed a quality user experience in its haste to demonstrate its technological daring. It needs to put its priorities back in focus.

If you are looking for vegetarian restaurants in Chicago, you would rather have a complete list of all possible venues, instead of the paltry three choices provided by A9. Not only are all three restaurants on the same block, but only one of them was visible in the accompanying pictures.

Even when you do turn up a picture in the semi-illustrated Yellow Pages, it may not be relevant. I found several listings including the names "Brooklyn Bridge," "Statue of Liberty" and "New York Stock Exchange," but got no useful pictures of any of the Big Apple landmarks.

As you can see from the photos below, the NYSE is illustrated by the picture at the left, instead of the more appropriate one at right. The garbage bags in the corner of the left-hand picture lend a wry editorial touch.


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