If you, like me, are sick of the endless discussion regarding the Microsoft and Yahoo on again and off again acquisition talk, then finally there is some positive news from the Microsoft Search Team. Microsoft has bought semantic search technology company Powerset. Semantic search extends from traditional keyword based search, by using the science behind language (in particular the intent) to deliver results.
At the heart of Powerset’s technology is their exclusive licensing of natural language processing technology from Xerox’s Research Labs. This is the same lab credited with providing the first WIMP (Windows Icons Menus Pointing Device) operating system, which was the forefront of the Apple and Windows operating Systems.
Two other jewels in Powerset’s crown were enough to attract Microsoft’s money – namely the power to combine the natural language processing with the ability to actually search and the people behind all the technology.
With Microsoft so far behind in the search race, hopefully the addition of the Powerset technology and people can close the Google-Gap. Only time will tell.