Amazon launches local business visual search

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Palo Alto, Calif.—, the search subsidiary of, announced the launch of Yellow Pages. The service enables users to search for local businesses on the site ( via digital images of actual storefronts.

The e-commerce company created a proprietary technology called Block View that houses 20 million photographs of more than 14 million businesses in 10 U.S. cities.

"It took integrated GPS receivers, digital cameras, sophisticated geocoding software and a lot of driving," said founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, in a statement.

A list of local businesses with an interactive map that shows their locations appears in search results. Searchers can also view the business from different angles, call the business with one click, obtain driving directions and read customer reviews. In addition, businesses can submit information—including photos, hours, payment types accepted and links to their Web site—free of charge.

—Carol Krol

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