I thought perhaps it might be useful to see what changes are underway for transparency, and to see how the search tool evolves over time. I won't be listing security changes, but I will be showing both feature changes and bug fixes. Note: I'm not aiming to spend as much time making this page as easy to read as the web tool, as this is meant to be more technical than purely informational.
- Significant improvements to Ads policy. Although I previously banned the most sensitive advertising categories, we've significantly reduced/restricted and/or outright banned many additional categories of advertising allowed, including areas that were potentially triggering, sensitive, offensive, and/or harmful subjects. (policy/terms will show more details at some point). There will always be some that get through the "net" but this change should make it more comfortable for some people. These changes affect entire categories rather than individual advertisers (so ads with misrepresented categories may unfortunately still get through - however I will do my best to ban those individual advertisers too if/when I become aware of it).
- A fix for a visual bug where it underlined the wrong selected stars, additional accessibility changes, minor button improvements, and fixes for button visuals on some iOS devices.
- Fixed a bug that prevented low price search from working in most cases when there was no high price set.
- Added Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk to the search countries. Although Amazon.com can be used in many countries, the current support for Amazon.com should work exclusively for residents of the United States. Adding these two countries presented each their own unique challenges. With the UK, it had more to do with feature compatibility, as the UK Amazon site is written slightly different. With the U.S. one, features were more readily available and near identical to Canada, but implementation was highly complex. Notably, adding each country isn't a simple code line change. Since Amazon's own codes and their formats differ from site to site, if your country is not listed, please have patience and bear with me! Note: all backend additional code is handled on our side, which means no matter what happens to change there, it has literally zero impact on how much data you use! However your data is (barely) impacted if you yourself used a new feature that you weren't before.
- SIDENOTE, on the point of data efficiency: In all situations, our site is so data-efficient by design that you are likely using more data on a single page of amazon than dozens if not hundreds of ours, no matter what you do. This is because, as you can probably tell, every single line has been manually coded. This is partly because, to my knowledge, this isn't being done elsewhere - it has to start somewhere. However I went to further lengths intentionally for absolute efficiency. I even made the intentional choice to skip the preset public domain images that could slow down your loading or waste data, to maintain this efficiency. The few images that we do use (like the star ratings) were even shifted to a lower resolution format. Careful thought was made to these details. I use the webapp too, and this was born out of necessity.
- Changes to give slightly faster load times for users on all devices, but most significantly on mobile. This is in addition to streamlining some script functions. Reduced code waste by approximately 25%, which may mean faster load times after you hit "go"!
- New Terms of Service, mainly to address significant updates to privacy policies and international requirements.
- Work started in the background on multiple features that Amazon themselves have made U.S.-exclusive. ETA unknown. Will post more details when the time approaches.
- Integrated a second promo code option: "All Discounts". This was a feature I'd been working on weeks prior. Notably, it seems Amazon themselves have a policy of functionally showing different items in this promo code from the Today's Deals code even when they overlap. This is not an error in our coding/scripts. It is by Amazon's design, whether intentionally or unintentionally - I'll leave that up for you to decide. I can only speculate as to why they would exclude deals from their own promo codes that appear in others (even others that qualify under both codes), but suffice it to say: when in doubt try both!
- Fixed a bug that prevented star ratings from searching effectively for some users.
- Some options now underline when they are selected, to avoid confusion.
- Began work on Kindle eBook search features.
- Significant accessbility changes. EX: users can now tap or click on a word to select an option, giving a larger area to select.
- Significant layout/format fixes for many devices. More to do. Current Browser support is for recent versions of Firefox & Chrome on PC, iOS, and Android. If you have a relatively new device it should look fine but if it doesn't, please try Firefox or Chrome if you haven't. More fixes for smaller & older devices coming in 2024.
- New Reset button. This was a "Priority 1" change.
- Pilot/testing and other work to increase loading speed.
- First minor release - Amazon.ca only. Not much else to say, as the focus during October was on functionality.