Changes At Natural Language Search Company Powerset

Big management changes are going on at Powerset, which has received much attention for its potential in using natural language processing for search. Barney Pell, who has been CEO at Powerset, posted today in his blog that he is transitioning to CTO, that Steve Newcomb, who had been COO, is leaving the company, and that Ron Kaplan, who had been CTO and Chief Science Officer, is now solely Chief Science Officer. The company is currently looking for a CEO.

Several companies have been taking the natural language angle in creating the next generation search engine, but turning the potential into production has proven tricky. Powerset had hoped to launch their search engine this year but now thinks it could be as late as 2009 (although they are hoping for a mid-2008 launch).

Hakia, another player in the space, hopes to have their own brand of natural language processing fully powering their search engine next year.

Pell is optimistic about Powerset’s future. In his blog post, he says he’d love to talk to potential CEOs and closes by saying:

“The changes we are making now position us for a next phase that promises to be really exciting. We will bring our technology out in real products that users will enjoy and that will trigger changes across the entire ecosystem of search. I think the next year is going to be an amazing time for Powerset and I am as passionate as ever about Powerset, our technology, our team and our future.”

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Business Issues: Acquisitions & Investments | Channel: Industry | Search Engines: Hakia | Search Features: Natural Language


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. She built Google Webmaster Central and went on to found software and consulting company Nine By Blue and create Blueprint Search Analytics< which she later sold. Her book, Marketing in the Age of Google, (updated edition, May 2012) provides a foundation for incorporating search strategy into organizations of all levels. Follow her on Twitter at @vanessafox.

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