Amazon cooking up search, Web products in India

Online retailer Amazon.com has set up a development center in Bangalore that is working on search and web services products.

Amazon.com has pulled back the curtain on its new development center in Bangalore, India to reveal it is focused on developing technologies in the area of search and Web services, according to an executive of the company.

Development teams at the Bangalore development center have full responsibility for products: from the business specification to development, on to deployment and running the service, said Werner Vogels, chief technology officer of the Internet retailer. This is in line with Amazon's worldwide strategy to give its development teams complete autonomy for the products they develop, he said in an interview Wednesday.

Although the Bangalore center has been in operation since July last year, Amazon.com kept information on the work it was doing at the center under wraps until this week. The Seattle company also has development centers in California's Bay Area in the U.S. and in the U.K., Vogels said.

"We have identified four different areas in which we want to do more innovation: search, Web services, personalisation and supply chain. This is along side our continued focus on distributed computing and infrastructure," Vogels said.

The company's development center in the U.K. has a team working on personalisation, while the development centers in the U.S. work in areas such as Web services.

The search team in Bangalore is working with Amazon.com subsidiary A9.com to develop innovative technologies that make search more effective, according to Bharat Vijay, head of the team working on search products at the Bangalore center.

Amazon.com set up A9.com in Palo Alto, California in October 2003 to research and build search technologies. The retailer officially moved into the search engine market with the unveiling in September last year of its Internet search engine A9.com. Search technology is important for Amazon.com both for its retail business to help customers find products, and as a separate business, Vogels said.

The Bangalore center, after completing the phase of hiring staff, is now working on product development, according to Vijay. He did not, however, disclose the number of staff Amazon.com has hired at the center.

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John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
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