How many times have you searched Google or Yahoo using a phrase or a sentence and returned a search result of a page with just a bunch of keywords related to your search and not the real context that you want? Sometimes you’ll end up browsing the second or third page of the search results just to find what you are really looking for. This is why most people agree that the Google page ranking system is losing its relevance. Given this, most people still use the first page of Google search results as their primary resource of information. Low ranking pages with relevant content still loses the battle in the page ranking system Google has devised. Google’s reliance on keywords in their search algorithm doesn’t entirely mean that all the search results they are providing are totally irrelevant. Sometimes it just takes more time to find what you are really looking for in the Google search pages, especially for novice and average users.
Soon, a new search engine called Powerset will emerge and will change how people search the web. Powerset is a natural language search company that is building a transformative (learning) consumer search engine. Unlike traditional keyword search that only indexes the keywords that appear on a page, Powerset indexes the meaning of the sentences in each page. By matching the meaning of the query against the meaning of sentences in their index, Powerset promises to often return better, more accurate results and even return results that aren’t possible with traditional keyword search.
The Powerset technology is still under development and there is no official launch date yet. If you must try it out, you can register for an invitation in PowerLabs, a community where users can interact with demonstrations of Powerset’s technolog. You can try out their Wiki Search Sneak Peek demo. It offers you a chance to play with an early application of Powerset’s technology based on an index of Wikipedia. You can also take part and give feedback to help improve their natural language indexing, and suggest ideas for the ideal search engine. This is another great example of user interaction towards the development of new technologies and products.