Amazon Web Services has launched a search effort for corporations looking to surface their corporate data. The service could ultimately compete with search appliances.
CloudSearch allows developers and companies to add search to their applications. Amazon CloudSearch provisions the infrastructure for the search and scales it according to the queries and data.
Amazon appears to be aiming for the market that has spends time developing search tools that never quite live up to Google (statement, blog).
As for pricing, Amazon CloudSearch charges for each batch of uploaded data and re-indexing. There's no charge for in-bound transfer. You're billed on running search instances, which come in three sizes---small to large---with pricing between 12 cents and 68 cents an hour.
The CloudSearch technology is built on Amazon's A9 tools, which power search for the e-commerce provider. CloudSearch will automatically scale up to 50 instances. Beyond that customers need to contact Amazon, which did say it'll increase the instance limit over time.
Among early customers, SmugMug is probably the most notable based on scale of images. Search Technologies is using CloudSearch to index Wikipedia and Sage Bionetworks using Amazon to search biological research.
CloudSearch should be cost effective for things like catalogs and corporate documents. If data is re-indexed repeatedly costs would run higher. In either case, CloudSearch tests can be up and running quickly and can be an option for enterprises investigating search tools.