Microsoft Live Search Gets Semantic Query Processing

By September 22, 2008No Comments

Microsoft has now integrated Powerset into the Live Search platform, since last month. The Redmond-based software giant is believed to have paid $100 million for Powerset’s semantic search capabilities in an attempt to improve their position in the search engine market after the failed attempt to acquire Yahoo! earlier in the year.

They have already started making use of the Semantic technology available in Powerset for various projects, to improve the user experience.

To begin with they have started off with simple projects, which they could complete within one month, so as to get a proper feel of the way the technology works. At present these new projects are being tested on only a handful of clients, in order to get feedback and data from which to make further improvements, before releasing the finished product in the market.

The first project they have undertaken is to increase the number of queries that Live Search will instantly answer. As of now, Live Search can answer some queries including those like Microsoft, San Francisco weather etc. Several celebrities and bloggers are also covered in this facility, but they still have a long way to go, before Live Search will answer more general queries like Films, music etc. Some of these general category queries have been chosen on an experimental basis to present a topical summary with links, just like the Freebase Answers in Powerset.

The second experiment undertaken is to improve the captions of Wikipedia articles, making use of the Semantic technology based in Powerset. The idea is to have eye-catching captions for the Wikipedia articles, as they show up frequently in Live Search queries. These changes will be visible to users, and it will be possible to judge whether the new or older captions perform better.

The third project undertaken, for now, is to use Factz extraction from Powerset to generate a list of queries that are related to a given query.

Live Search technology is also being used on Powerset to get related articles on Wikipedia, which have been enhanced by Powerset.

These are early days for the collaboration and much more can be expected to come from it, in the future.