Wednesday, March 14, 2007

David vs. Google

There's some exciting news on search engines. Powerset is a startup whose focus is on natural language search technology and associated with Palo Alto Research Center, Inc. (PARC). Its founder, Dr. Barney Pell, managed to get together a team of excellent scientists that try to break Google's dominance by allowing users to type in whole sentences (as you would ask questions) that are supposed to lead to much better results if comparing this to pure keyword searches. Some more background on the deal with PARC can be found over there.

Seems like a lot of hype going on right now, and whether this is really a breakthrough or not I do not know. They're not the first to try out natural language technology, this is for sure. Assuming that the product really fits its expectations, the next step may be to combine this search engine with voice recognition in order to enable mobile search that really works.

One collaborative scenario that comes to mind is the search for persons of interest beyond the limits of a pre-defined user community. There sure is a large potential, since most anyone has got its own homepage, or weblog somewhere.

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