Product Search

If you've done a search on Amazon, you've used our search engine.

Our work starts long before a customer types a query. We've been analyzing data, observing past traffic patterns, and indexing the text describing every product in our catalog before the customer has even decided to search. As soon as we see the first keystroke, we're ready with instant suggestions and a comprehensive set of search results.

Understanding the customer

Great search can seem to customers like it is reading their minds. We start the search experience by giving customers suggestions on how to formulate their queries as soon as they start typing.

The better we understand the meaning of a query, the better we can help customers find the products they want. So we focus on the words and the intent behind those words. When a customer tells us they are looking for "Harry Potter in books", we distinguish in their query the title: "Harry Potter" from the category information: "in books".

Results and ranking

One of A9's tenets is that relevance is in the eye of the customer and we strive to get the best results for our users. Once we determine which items are good matches to the customer’s query, our ranking algorithms score them to present the most relevant results to the user.

Our ranking algorithms automatically learn to combine multiple relevance features. Our catalog’s structured data provides us with many such relevance features and we learn from past search patterns and adapt to what is important to our customers.

Search - at scale

We index millions of documents worldwide, and deploy them on highly scalable massive fleets of servers. We reflect millions of price and inventory changes in real time, and we return relevant results in milliseconds.

Our core Search Infrastructure team runs a critical service that is powerful, flexible and efficient. Since both query traffic and the size of our product catalog are always growing, we need to continually innovate to prevent exponential growth in the number of servers in our fleet. We ensure lightning fast experiences for customers, regardless of traffic patterns at a given time.

Infrastructure that scales

Search and several related services we support are at the core of the Amazon business: they help customers find the items they want to buy. We are always online and ready to respond.

Our globally distributed team oversees the smooth running of all search system operations on Amazon sites in North America, Europe and Asia; our Client Services group provides hands on support for those that depend on A9’s search systems.

Besides our ultra-high availability frontline operations, we plan and scale with the fast-paced growth of search. We look at the data; we determine what services are needed; we implement solutions and we manage deployments. We are responsible for thousands of servers handling hundreds of millions of customer searches daily.

We stay agile so that we can adapt to unexpected change and exponential growth. We are ready when peak traffic surges, and we understand that yesterday’s record is going to be tomorrow’s average, so we always stay ahead with our infrastructure.

Collaborating across time and space

Within Search we have the Search Operations team which builds and runs the world's largest e-commerce product search.

Our "follow the sun" operation is based in three locations: Palo Alto, Dublin, and Tokyo. Each of our teams can, during their work hours, address any issue in any locale as soon as it arises, giving it full attention.

No matter what the volume of traffic, the conditions on the ground, or the intricacy of the systems, our services perform seamlessly for our customers, 24x7.