Can natural language search bring down Google?

Friday, February 9, 2007

Upstart search engine Powerset has just secured an exclusive license for natural language processing technology from Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center. It's a move that some are claiming will allow the small firm to someday challenge Google.

Steve Newcomb, one of Powerset's founders, characterizes the PARC technology as "the most sophisticated natural language technology known to man" and claims that it will give his company a major advantage over keyword-based search engines like Google.

The company has been operating quietly so far, but has recently been profiled twice in the New York Times and other major media outlets as it gears up for a private beta release of its flagship search engine. The company has not yet made details of the deal available, but the Times is reporting that PARC gets an equity stake in Powerset, while Powerset gets access to its technology and to researcher Ronald Kaplan, a leader in the field of natural language processing.


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