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Powerset Launches Piggybackipedia: Wikipedia Search Engine

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Who won Survivor last night? Powerset doesn't know.

Okay - maybe that's an unfair question for Powerset since the aptly-named Parvati Shallow only won Survivor Micronesia last night. It might be easier to ask "Who is Parvati? The answer: in Sanskrit, "parvati" means "Mountain's daughter" one of the names for Shiva's wife, the Universal Mother.

So what is Powerset? That's a much more intelligent question to ask.

Powerset is the much-hyped beta natural language search engine metaphor-challenged mainstream media call the Google Killer. That means you can type questions in a search box the way you normally ask them. (Think Ask Jeeves 1.5)

That doesn't mean natural language search or Powerset can kill Google, or even commit assault and battery on Google.

Powerset launched with a smart concept: better search results than Wikipedia's own search box. So the play is a "non-Google Custom Search Engine" for Wikipedia. Let's see about what Powerset can can do..

"What is Powerset?" we asked. Powerset separates results by combining the primary keyword (Powerset) with related verbs and nouns from Web pages and Wikipedia. Here's the answer we weren't looking for from Powerset itself.

Factz from Wikipedia: we found the following about Powerset Powerset opened : community and Powerlabs.

Results for Powerset opened community

Powerset (company) In a form of beta testing, Powerset opened an online community called Powerlabs on September 17, 2007.

Results for Powerset opened Powerlabs

Powerset (company) In a form of beta testing, Powerset opened an online community called Powerlabs on September 17, 2007.

Results for Powerset displayed advertise

Powerset (company) (Powerset is not currently selling or displaying any advertising.)

Results for Powerset searched language

Powerlabs Let's roll, is a prerelease of Powerset's general natural language search.

Wikipedia Articles: results 1 - 10 of 78

1. Powerset (company)
Powerset is a company based in San Francisco, California that is developing a natural language search engine for the Internet.
2. Power set
In mathematics, given a set S, the power set (or powerset) of S, written , P(S), or 2S, is the set of all subsets of S. In axiomatic set theory (as developed e.g. in the ZFC axioms), the existence of the power set of any set is postulated by the axiom of power set.

6. Powerlabs
Powerset Applications Currently, Powerset has released two applications: Powermouse and a beta of its search engine.

Only when you click on the expand snippet (powermouse) miniviewer button, do you find the answer you're looking for (sort of):

Powerset (company)

Powerset is a company based in San Francisco, California that is developing a natural language search engine for the Internet.

The company's stated desire is to build a search engine to compete with Google and Yahoo which would act on a user's questions, as opposed to keywords. For instance, a user who wanted to find out which U.S. state has the highest income tax would enter "Which state has the highest income tax?" at Powerset, as opposed to "state income tax" at Google. The advantage to the user, aside from using questions similar to what one person would ask another verbally, is that a natural language search engine would, depending on its underlying programming, return a result that is more relevant to what the user seeks

Powerset is limited by the poorly-written Wikipedia entry. The comparison to Google doesn't work. If someone's searching for the state with the highest state income tax, they'll type in "highest state income tax." No one would type in "state income tax" in Google if they'd type "Which state has the highest income tax?" in Powerset.

At this stage in beta, Powerset can be considered a search engine survivor.

But unless the technology yields better results -- and fast -- people will think of Parvati and Powerset as "shallow" contestants.


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