Data Strategy

July 27, 2007

Powerset demo (Part 1, the videos)

Filed under: Search — chucklam @ 3:53 am

I went to Powerset‘s first public demo on Tuesday. In Part 1 here, I’ll just post the videos with brief descriptions. In Part 2, I’ll write what I think of their technology.

I barely made it to the event on time and was stuck in the back of the crowd holding the camcorder above other people’s heads, so the recording of the introductory presentation was not very stable. It was basically a PowerPoint with some live demonstration of a few queries where Powerset got much better results than Google. (No surprises there.) Note that all the demos throughout the evening were only searching over Wikipedia. The side-by-side comparisons always have the Powerset results on the left side and Google results on the right side. Unfortunately, due to compression, you probably won’t be able to read a lot of the search results in the videos in this post. I’ll try to describe them in more details in Part 2.

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At the end of the presentation, Barney Pell, the Powerset CEO, came through the back of the crowd. When I spotted him, I figured this is the perfect time for my journalistic debut. So I interviewed him about the event and asked for his Powerset elevator pitch.

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OK, the lighting got a bit funky in the second half of that clip, and I won’t be putting Bambi Francisco out of a job any time soon…

The interesting part of the night was the demo station where they allow people to compare search results between Powerset and Google. The queries were limited to the form of “What did ___ say?” and people were welcomed to fill in the blank with famous names. The first two names mentioned in the clip were Sergey Brin and Larry Page. The third name tried was the legendary samurai Ieyasu Tokugawa.

After each query, the user was encouraged to vote using one of the three buttons underneath the search box. He could vote that 1) Powerset results were better, 2) Google results were better, or 3) It’s a tie, and the buttons kept track of the counts. In almost all cases, the results were either a tie or Powerset had better answers. The Powerset person assisting the demo and explaining things was Mark Johnson, a product manager for Powerlabs.

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More demo. This time someone asked “What did Pooh say?”

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Even with the side-by-side comparison between Powerset and Google, the official line is that they “love Google…”

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At the end of all the videotaping, I wish Powerset can answer my query “Who ate all the food??” 😉

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  1. […] Search — chucklam @ 6:14 pm I suppose this is a huge coincidence that on the day I posted videos of Powerset’s first public demo, I get this workshop announcement in my inbox: MASTERING THE GAP From Information Extraction to […]

    Pingback by From information extraction to semantic representation « Data Strategy — July 27, 2007 @ 6:14 pm

  2. […] much – three posts in a row that’s related to Powerset, and there will still be a Part 2 to the Powerset demo post. But an article on Powerset just came out from Technology Review, and there are a few interesting […]

    Pingback by Technology Review article on Powerset « Data Strategy — July 29, 2007 @ 2:24 pm

  3. Powerset demo (Part 1, the videos)

    These are some videos of Powerset’s first public demo. Besides product demonstration, they also include brief interviews with Powerset’s Barney Pell (CEO) and Mark Johnson (product manager).

    Trackback by Anonymous — July 29, 2007 @ 9:42 pm

  4. Thanks for sharing this. I’ll write about it on my blog. I wrote about the TR article on Powerset too. Looking forward to part 2!

    Comment by Samuel — August 9, 2007 @ 8:21 am

  5. Testing semantic search

    The Hakia blog has an interesting post on creating query sets to test semantic (i.e. “natural language”) search. The main point is that the query set must have sufficient coverage to test four aspects of natural language search: query type,…

    Trackback by Data Strategy — August 14, 2007 @ 2:25 am

  6. How AdSense can be improved with NLP

    I have this web site that I’ve been using for the last 10 months to study web advertising and monetization. I was surprised to find that begging users for money is as effective as AdSense. Partly it’s because users were mor…

    Trackback by Data Strategy — September 10, 2007 @ 3:25 pm

  7. […] More details are being reported at VentureBeat.  Powerset’s product release date has been pushed back to second quarter of 2008 and possibly later. I vlogged about their first public demo back in July. […]

    Pingback by Powerset shuffles management, looks for new CEO « Data Strategy — November 3, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

  8. Great info. Just found this blog while surfing the net. Thank you for your help!

    Comment by Alyson Gorrill — March 13, 2012 @ 2:16 am

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