As recently as May, the online press was calling the technology behind Powerset a possible “Google-killer,” as well as an acquisition shoo-in. In June Microsoft proved the second prediction when they bought Powerset for roughly $100 million.
Microsoft acquired, at the very least, a fascinating toy. Here’s a video showing the power of this company’s semantic search tool:
Powerset Demo Video from officialpowerset on Vimeo.
The next time you need something out of Wikipedia, see if you can find it more quickly using this impressive application.
“Hearing” and Understanding
When I call the technology a toy I’m joking, of course. Accounts are that Microsoft is incorporating Powerset’s app gradually into Live Search. There is another use that’s hinted at in the way semantic search renders answers. It’s a far more exciting prospect than another web-based search engine.
Consider the implications of this technology once voice recognition via cell phones improves.
As I’ve speculated before, we’ll witness the true power of mobile computing when the voice barrier is broken. This voice barrier is a two-fold problem. As with human cognition, there is the problem of accurately hearing, and even more difficult, the problem of understanding.
Powerset’s semantic search shows progress in tackling that second half of the equation.