Powerset, a natural language search technology startup, was acquired by Microsoft August 1 of this year. Powerset uses natural language processing technology licensed from PARC to improve the relevance of internet searches. Prior to the acquisition, Powerset had focused its semantic technologies on improving search and discovery on Wikipedia – both in terms of a better user experience for entering search terms, and better relevance and organization of search results.

Now, according to the Powerset blog, the first 30 days of integration projects at Microsoft have resulted in some experiments that are being “flighted” on Microsoft Live Search and Powerset.com

There were three separate projects in the integrations with the following goals:

  1. To expand the number of queries for which Live Search shows Answers (using data from Freebase). 
  2. To use Powerset’s semantic technology to generate improved captions for Wikipedia articles (shown below)
  3. To use Powerset’s Factz extraction to generate a list of related searches for a set of queries

While the impact of Powerset’s semantic processing on Live Search is still limited, you can see the beginnings of it (that is, if you’re lucky enough to be in the random sample of searches in the experiment): semantically improved summaries in the captions for results that point to Wikipedia articles.



The integration with Live Search is two-way: Powerset.com now boasts related searches that are powered by Live Search.