After acquiring “natural language” search technology company Powerset in July 2008, Microsoft has unveiled the first integration of the technology in the live.com search results.
Powerset proclaim to “change the way people interact with technology by enabling computers to understand our language.” Ultimately, Microsoft is hoping the technology will help make Live Search more user friendly and relevant than competitor search engines Google and Yahoo!
The first level of Powerset integration has seen the inclusion of “freebase answers” in the Live Search results, captions and navigation for Wikipedia results and a new “related searches” section which runs off the Powerset Factz engine.
Below is a screenshot from the Powerset Blog highlighting the main forms of integration.
The Powerset improvements to Live Search should be welcomed by searchers. Any development that makes it easier to filter through results from the search page is a vital usability enhancement. Especially when you consider how many listings are stored in the search engine’s databases.
At this stage, it’s unlikely that the enhancements will be enough to convince the legion of loyal Google users to move across, but it’s an important step by Microsoft in offering a “better” search alternative.
Powerset promise that there’s more improvements on the cards in the coming months, so stay tuned to find out when they’re unveiled.