Is Powerset the New Google?

Powerset is a new kind of search engine that will understand natural language searches and compete with keyword matching engines that dominate search today (Google).

Ok let's try it. Let's start with something simple:

"who was the first king of england"

The right result is number 5. Interestingly, "the first king of england" gives the right result at number 1. The least I would expect from a NLP search engine would be figure out what "who was" means. On the other hand, Google gives the right result at number 1 for both of the above versions.

Let's try with movies.
What movie featured lightning hitting a clock tower ?
Impressive ! But Google gives the same result.

What about Thomas Jefferson?
It disambiguates incorrectly here!

Last not least, let's try geography.
What is the population of China?
1,321,851,888 (July 1, 2007)

What is thea area of China?

3.4 Square kilometers

It seems rather crowded.

Moreover, it seems to give different answers depending on whether or not the query includes a question mark, and whether or not China is capitalized:

[what is the area of China] = 147 sq km
[what is the area of China?] = 3.4 sq km
[what is the area of china] = 9,598,086 sq km

Sorry Powerset, still a lot to be fixed, but keep up the good work and good luck.

2 comments

Matteo Damo said...

Yep, Powerset has a long road ahead if it wants to compete with Google or reserve itself a place among the most-used traditional link-and-text based search engines.
In particular it needs to speed-up its learning process. I've heard that the main reason why it covers only Wikipedia's articles at the moment is due to its sluggishness in reading and understading the content.
However there's a lot of potential but one cool thing it already offers is its query-refinement, which is much more useful than Google's and Yahoo!'s. Moreover the interface is very conversational, engaging and bi-directional and that's where all the Web is going...

Matteo Damo said...

there's a good article on Read/Write Web about these new user interfaces...
The Rise of Contextual User Interfaces