it’s like google with make-up, which means, that a9 has the same result-quality like google (cause the search results are based on the google search results), but is a little bit more styled, easy to use and has a couple of nice more features.
if you want to, you can log in and track your complete search-history, finding search results from the last week or whatever. a9 also provides a diary (post-it notes for websites), an online bookmark-list and a9-discover (recommendations that may interest you like amazon’s “others also read”). there are possibilities for parallel searches on the web (google), blogs, wikipedia, images, yellow pages etc. … and your search-results on different media can be displayed in multiple columns.
at this time i can’t say if it is much better than google, but i will use it now more often. if you have any qualms concerning data privacy you can also use the generic a9 version (no cookies, no data collection).