Microsoft Powerset Arrives

September 18, 2008

The Powerset Web log contains a summary of the progress made with Powerset’s technology here. You can see the system in action by navigating to search here and entering the phrase “Chrysler Building”. The system displays an “answer” in the form of an extract from Wikipedia. For me the most interesting part of the Microsoft Powerset article was this statement:

But, many topical queries do not show Answers today such as  musicians, albums, films, etc. For this experiment, we selected some of these categories and will return a topic summary with links, similar to the Freebase Answers we show in Powerset, using data from Freebase.  Eventually, we hope to give Answers for even more topics.

The Answers feature, therefore, may not be available to you. If you launch queries not supported by the system, you won’t see any of the Powerset technology.

The demonstration looks interesting, and as the Web log post states, the Powerset team pulled off this impressive display in only 30 days. This contrasts sharply with the Microsoft Fast Search Web part, a project completed in only 45 days. To me, it looks as if Powerset’s presentation of its Wikipedia search demo was easier to port to Live Search than it was for Fast Search to make its pre-existing Web part available for SharePoint.

I am looking forward to more substantive innovations from both Powerset and Fast Search in the near future. Although interesting, both the Powerset and the Fast Search projects left me wanting more. In fact, I thought of the old Wendy’s advertising theme “Where’s the beef?” for both of these initial development efforts.

Stephen Arnold, September 18, 2008


4 Responses to “Microsoft Powerset Arrives”

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