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Posted at 3:53 pm

2006 Dec 18

NowNow.com – Amazon’s new front end to Mechanical Turk 0

 

Nownow

 

I
was at a portfolio company board meeting last week, and the CEO told us
how he was using Amazon’s new beta service NowNow.com. It’s basically a new way to use Amazon’s
Mechanical Turk Human Intelligence Task service which has been out for a while now, but they’ve
made it extremely easy to access with NowNow. Their "Artificial Artificial
Intelligence" service is now accessible via the NowNow web site and you can also email a question and receive the answer by email. Best of all, it’s free, at least through the
beta period, and AMZN is presumably still paying the folks who do the actual
search/answer work on the back end.

 

The
CEO was able to ask important, specialized, relevant questions for his business
and get fast, accurate answers – way beyond the kind of quality you’d expect
from the many answer sites available today. He showed me a few examples around getting some needed international
information, and finding the contact info of a business partner – both of which
failed with traditional Google searches and other normal means, and they got
great results with NowNow.com

 

It’s
a perfect example of putting the wisdom of crowds to work, and follows some
great services that Amazon has been releasing recently, including on-demand
storage service S3 and their computing service in the cloud EC2.  I spent a lot of my career at Half.com and
eBay competing with Amazon on the product/marketplace side, but it seems like
they’re making some significant progress outside of the traditional commerce
arena.

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