Googling The Weather: From 20% Project To Sophisticated Query Analysis

google-weather-600 Millions of us have asked Google to play weatherperson. In order to get an answer to one of our oldest and most basic questions, we type a variety of words and numbers -- city names, neighborhoods and ZIP codes, plus words like "weather," "forecast" or maybe "temperature" -- into the Google search box, and Google typically has an answer back to us in less than a second. But have you noticed that our weather-related searches can be more complex now than ever? It's true. In recent years, Google has gone from focusing on the keywords we use to figuring out the meaning of our search que [...]

Google Glass Diary, Part 4: Local Search & Navigation

google-glass-local-search-featured Remember that first Google Glass video? It was published a little more than a year ago and gave the world its first glimpse at what Google had in mind for Glass. Even though Google described it as "an early concept video," you can clearly see that local search and navigation was a key aspect of Google's concept. The first two minutes of the 2:30 video practically center on local stuff: search, information, businesses and navigation. And, that's smart because since Glass is a mobile device, local search and navigation is bound to be an even more common use case than the more traditional G [...]

Google Glass Diary, Part 3: How Search Works On Google Glass

google-glass-featured There are seven voice commands built into this first "Explorers" edition of Google Glass. Two of those six are search-related: "google..." and "get directions to...." The others are "take a photo," "record a video," "send a message to," "make a call to" and "start a Hangout with." There's also the predictive search aspect of Google Now, where the device automatically shows me the kind of information Google thinks I'm looking for. So, the chances are pretty strong that a good amount of Google Glass activity is going to involve searching. Or "googling" as Glass suggests. Yep. Even though G [...]

Google Drops “Translated Foreign Pages” Search Option Due To Lack Of Use

google-translate Google has quietly dropped the "Translated Foreign Pages" search filter from the Google search options menu. Google tells us the option was removed due to lack of use, but they say they are still committed to making the Web available to as many people, in as many languages, as possible. The translated foreign pages search option enabled searchers to restrict the search results to specific languages only. So, if you want to search for something in English and then show results for that search result in French, you could have used this search option for that. Dan Russell, Google's Search R [...]

How Search & Social Engines Are Using Semantic Search

The term "Semantic Search" is certainly not new. However, it has taken on a new dimension and implications in both search and social engines today. In addition, it has had a strong impact on targeted semantic advertising. This special series of forthcoming articles on semantic search will take a look at the history behind the development of semantic technology and why it has now become so commercially viable and topical. It will also take a look at how the technology enables "answer engines," rather than simple search engines, to improve the user experience. For example, look at the dire [...]

Nuance’s Nina Is Siri For Enterprise Customer Service

Nuance Nina logo Although there were so-called "virtual assistants" before Siri, consumers had only limited experience with them and may not have even realized what they were dealing with at the time. United Airlines' "virtual agent" Alex is one such automated assistant, though it doesn't use speech and currently doesn't work on mobile devices. At least a dozen companies have created enterprise-focused assistants, based on "artificial intelligence," which today are mainly used for customer service online. However increasingly they extend into mobile and seek to offer Siri-like capabilities. Siri has become [...]

Does Marissa Mayer’s “Perfect Search Engine” Already Exist In Siri?

Recently IDG News Service asked Google's Marissa Mayer about the "perfect search engine." Here was the question posed: "What is the perfect search engine? If you had a magic wand and could create it, what would it look like? What would it do?" Mayer replied: "It would be a machine that could answer that question, really. It would be one that could understand speech, questions, phrases, what entities you're talking about, concepts. It would be able to search all of the world's information, [find] different ideas and concepts, and bring them back to you in a presentation that was really infor [...]

Travel Search Goes Green

With a couple of Stanford graduates as founders, a new entrant to the online travel space officially launched its beta site today, Following a small but growing trend in the travel search space, Whole Travel uses what they call "Blue Sky Search", or the ability for searchers to use open-ended experiential queries, rather than inputting specific location data, airport codes or exact dates for travel. Searchers on are encouraged to type in eco-friendly activities (mountain trekking, wildlife tours, canoeing) or broad destination ideas such as "rainforest" o [...]

Powerset Launches “Understanding Engine” For Wikipedia Content

After nearly two years in the making -- and plenty of hype -- Powerset has finally rolled out a "natural language" search engine. It's not a Google killer. It's barely a business model right now. But at least it's something the world can finally play with, and under the hood, there's lots of potential. By the time you read this, the Powerset site should have changed into a tool that allows you search against material within Wikipedia. Why bother using Powerset rather than using Wikipedia's own search tool or even Google set to look only within Wikipedia pages? The Powerset pitch is t [...]

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 [...]

Social Networking Through Search: Hakia Helps You Meet Others

Hakia, a natural language search engine, has just added a new spin to search: social networking. Their new Meet Others feature lets you connect with others who are searching for the same things you are. Since Hakia processes queries differently than old school search engines such as Google, you aren't just matched up with people who typed in the exact query you did -- you're matched with a larger set of searchers that Hakia thinks are looking for the same things you are based on natural language processing. For instance, if you're searching for "what drug treats a headache," Hakia processes t [...]

Powerset Licenses Xerox PARC Natural Language Tech

Both VentureBeat and the New York Times are out today with an update on Powerset, which has won the rights to natural language search technology from Xerox PARC that it hopes will make it into the new Google, when Powerset finally launches. VentureBeat also gives us news of at least one person from Yahoo now working there -- Tim Converse -- who left Yahoo in December. I know others from Yahoo are also at Powerset, as well. Last time we had news about Powerset, I did a big long rant -- Hello Natural Language Search, My Old Over-Hyped Search Friend -- about the hype and history often associat [...]

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