Powerset Inc, a Silicon Valley company, is developing a new type of search engine which does not function based on the typical Google, Yahoo or Microsoft technique of keywords. Rather it is a natural language search engine, which uses a natural language processing techniques to “read and understand every sentence on the Web”.
Although the company has not released the search engine for use, for public or private testing, they have a Powerset Labs section on their site where invited users can provide feedback on the design of the search engine. Users are also given a peek at technology demonstrations that show off the search engine’s capabilities, which currently for the labs purposes has only indexed Wikipedia pages. At least, that is what they are saying on their blog. You can sign up for the labs at http://labs.powerset.com/, however there is no guarantee that you will get an invite.
There does appear to be a few problems with the site, such as the labs login and extended sign up pages timing out, but I guess these things are expected with a start-up. Especially a start-up which is gathering more and more recognition – Powerset recently presented at TechCrunch40. A video of Powerset presenting at the TechCrunch40 2007 conference can be seen on the TechCrunch20 site.