Powerset Takes On Google

- September 18, 2007

There is another new search engine in the marketplace.  Powerset believes they are ready to take on Google, with their natural-language search engine.  You are currently able to visit their site and provide your email address for more information and account set-up information.  Powerset’s algorithms are programmed to understand search requests submitted in plain English, differently from the keyword search used by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and all other keyword search engines. 

Natural-language search has been attempted before.  In the 1990s, Ask Jeeves was founded on the premise that Internet search requests should be presented as simple questions.  Users seemingly weren’t satisfied with search results, because they had too many irrelevant answers.  After nearly failing, the company embraced the keyword approach to search and abandoned its natural-language algorithms.  It is now known simply as Ask.com.

This however doesn’t mean that natural language search can’t work.  Maybe Powerset will be able to take natural language search where Ask Jeeves left off.  Maybe this will give internet users more satisfaction in their search results.

The difference with natural language search means Web surfers will supposedly be able to get more meaningful results by typing more precise search requests in the form of straightforward questions.

Powerset is so confident in its methods that they will present some answers alongside what its rival returns when asked the same questions in a users search results. Powerset is requiring its users to vote on which engine produced better results before they are allowed to enter another search request.
Even if Powerset uses a better search technology, it still doesn’t mean they will be able to take away from Google’s market share, which is more then half of the market.

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