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The next Google killer? Stealthy Powerset pushing natural language search

By Alpha Doggs on Sun, 10/15/06 - 4:47pm.

Ok, we admit feeling very left out about a new search engine company called Powerset. According to the Silicon Valley startup's CEO, Barney Pell, he created a "blog storm" recently by posting information about the stealthy company on his blog, instigating some 400 blog articles elsewhere.

We haven't spoken to the company yet, but here's what it says about itself: Powerset is building a large-scale search engine that breaks the confines of keyword search. By making search more natural and intuitive, Powerset is fundamentally changing how we search the web, and delivering higher quality results.

Meanwhile, others such as VentureBeat have gotten the debate over the company's prospects, generating a back and forth among those who think natural langauge search will be a huge improvement over keyword-oriented search such as that from Google and others who think Google and other established search firms have things wrapped up and that newcomers might as well pick a niche, such as enterprise search.

Powerset boasts a cast of ex-Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Apple, BBN, etc., employees among its ranks and is backed by big names such as Esther Dyson.  As for Pell, his pedigree is impressive, including research experience at NASA, Stanford and Cambridge University. Powerset product architect Gian Lorenzo worked on computational linguistics and search at places such as CommerceNet and Fuji-Xerox Palo Alto Laboratory.