Thursday, 31 July 2008

Powerset - natural language search engine

The search engine world has yet another challenger to Google, Yahoo, Cuil etc following the launch of Powerset (in a limited fashion) in May 2008. Powerset at the moment queries only Wikipedia and augments results with data from Freebase. Acquired by Microsoft in July, Powerset "is a search engine that focuses on natural language processing. In other words, Powerset will not search based simply on keywords alone, but will try to understand the search phrase as a whole. The goal of the product is to make searching more natural and intuitive."

According to Powerset's Lorenzo Thione "Powerset is building a new search engine based on understanding human language, and understanding natural language content, both on the document side and on the query side, meaning that we can build a better model of how information is described and represented in documents than keyword search engines can do, and we can also understand the intent of the users better because we analyse any linguistic content that is present in the query... If you can crack that nut of actually understanding human language with algorithms, with computers, then you open up the door to really something that has been part of the 'collective imaginary' for a long time, which is how do people interact with technology in general?"

Are we getting closer to the Semantic Web? Try it out at - but remember it's only querying Wikipedia as of now.

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