Amazon have just launched a cloud-based search service, which promises a ‘fully managed search service in the cloud’ – and it certainly looks impressive, with auto-scaling built in. You simply create a service, upload documents as JSON or XML and then perform searches. For cases where you need to search publically available data this offers a great way to avoid having to install and integrate any search software – of course it won’t be so popular if you’re worried about where your data actually is, or other complications such as the Patriot Act.
As you might expect, some people are already offering services based around CloudSearch (we’d be happy to do the same – just ask!) and there’s a demo of searching Wikipedia available. I’m not sure who SmackBot is but I’m slightly wary of reading any Wikipedia articles it’s had something to do with…
Of course searching Wikipedia is nothing new and I sometimes wish for a different choice of source material for search demos.
One thing that seems clear is that with the rise of cloud-based search options (here’s another from our partners Lucid Imagination, based on Apache Lucene/Solr) the cost and complication of ‘simple’ search projects could fall dramatically, applying further pressure to those companies selling closed source search engines for frankly unrealistic prices. Amazon’s offering, with their huge experience in cloud-based services, has the potential to be a game changer for the search market.