Amazon Adds Pictures to Yellow Pages

If Amazon has its way, soon your mouse will do the walking through a virtual tour of 10 major U.S. cities.

Call up a local business in one of those cities on Amazon's A9 Yellow Pages, and it will not just give you the phone number and address. Alongside the listing will be a picture of the business with an option for "block view" that displays adjacent storefronts.

"It's like taking a virtual stroll around the block," said Udi Manber, A9's CEO. "We believe this is going to expand the user experience significantly."

Analysts agree that Amazon needs to do something with A9 in order to make it a viable search engine. Last month, the site had a paltry 819,000 visitors, ranking it 30th among search engines. Compare that with Google, which saw over 71 million unique visitors, and one can see A9 has quite a bit of ground to make up.

A9 will have photographs available of businesses in the following cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, Seattle, and Portland. More cities will be added later in the year, the company says.

Revenue from A9 does not come from listings, as Amazon allows businesses to list themselves in the directory for free. However, increased usage could help Amazon's bottom line as most of the money made from search engines these days comes from text-based ads related to users' search queries.

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