Tag Archives: internet

The Future of Search?

Logo BigA company called Powerset will be making a new natural language search technology available to the public in September. If the company’s claims are true (as credulously reported in the Technology Review), their search technology will be fundamentally different than the many algorithms that have been used in the past. Instead of developing results based on word and synonym matching, Powerset’s technology teases out the deep linguistic structures embodied in the search queries and in the searched text to make both more accurate and less obvious connections. Points to Powerset CEO Barney Pell for admitting that:

There was not one piece of technology that solved the problem… but instead, it was the unification of many theories and fragments that pulled the project together.

…and that most of the technology was licensed from Xerox PARC. If you’re interested you can sign up for the beta on their website. [kurzweilai]

Your five-year internet fast starts now, courtesy of Elton John

Fear not, folks – Elton John is here to save us from the impending degradation of culture! Because, you see, the reason there’s so much rubbish music and art about these days is because we all spend too much time on the internet. It’s a relief to know he’s worked out why his own contributions to global culture have been so unilaterally appalling over the last decade or so … though I can think of numerous artist and musician acquaintances whose work has been enhanced or expanded for the better by their use of the internet, be it for networking or acquiring new tools or ideas. Clay Shirky agrees, too – destroying limits liberates creativity, as opposed to stifling it. But it also destroys the culture that went before it … which is probably what has Sir Elton so worried.

Wikia – searching with the wisdom of crowds

It’s a brave business that openly announces its intent to beat Google at their main game. But Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, is nothing if not a man of vision – his commercial start-up Wikia is currently assembling the base of a distributed web-search facility which will be enhanced by its users, in the form of human editors who will clarify ambiguous results.

We hear a lot about crowdsourcing from its supporters and detractors alike, and the jury is still out on Wikipedia’s reliability for that very reason. But one thing’s for certain – there’ll be a lot of SEO consultants with a vested interest in this project not doing so well. Ever seen a wiki-war? Now, just imagine the sort of intense conflict that paid shills could produce over search results … and the potential income a bribe-taking editor could make …