Microsoft acquires Powerset search engine

Natural language search vendor Powerset has been bought by Microsoft

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  July 2, 2008

Microsoft has confirmed the acquisition of semantic search engine Powerset to power their Live Search engine capabilities. Though terms of the deal were not disclosed, initial reports have estimated that the transaction could have involved more than $100 million.

Semantic searching is believed to the next step in delivering search results as it allows the extraction of meaning from search queries and web pages rather than simply matching them with relevant links based on keywords or previous or related searches.

Satya Nadella, senior vice president of search, portal, and advertising mentions on the official Live Search blog that "we don't understand that cancer sometimes refers to a disease and sometimes refers to a horoscope and when a query or a webpage refers to which." Google, the search-engine leader, still primarily uses keywords to deliver search results.

More details on how Microsoft plans to use natural language technologies will be made available in the coming months.

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