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Be David when facing Goliath

There's no doubt that Google is the giant in the search industry and Powerset knows that it has quite a challenge in front of it.  Many people are quite rightfully skeptical about the realities of Natural Language Search, but we hope that in the coming months we will be able to convert a few people to join the Powerset movement.  Today, we have begun the process of sharing more information about our technology, our people and a little bit about our plan.

So how are we going to go up against Googliath?

Powerset's plan from the beginning was to concentrate on revolutionizing the core of search just like Google did 8 years ago (WOW that really seams like a long time ago).  Our strategy was to put together a team of world class search engineers from existing search companies, a team of world class computational linguists from the leading research organizations and institutions around the world and let them scale and commercialize the most sophisticated natural language technology known to man (the Xerox PARC XLE).

So over the past year, we have been quite cagey about showing our search engine or talking about any details of the technology.  Quietly however, those who are in the know (i.e. those who have applied and joined the company) have seen our technology and met our team first hand.  While this has made us highly satisfied that we are well positioned to execute our strategy, we admit we haven't really shared much.  To that end, we are beginning the process of opening the door to our secretive search engine.  Our first phase will be a three-pronged strategy.

1) Let people see Powerset's search engine for the First Time 

For the first time, we have been allowing people in the press to have a sneak peak at our technology, including Matt Marshall at Venture Beat and Bambi Francisco at CBS MarketWatch. Feel free to read their impressions after they saw our search engine.

So how do YOU get a sneak peak? 

Well, we don't have a way for the general public to apply, but if you are one of the folks that follow my blog, you are welcome to link to me via Linked In (my email is at the top right of my blog) and I will be make sure that those that I am connected with are put into the process for consideration to be invited to our closed beta process when the time is appropriate. 

2) Tell people about our technology licensing and strategic partnership deal with Xerox PARC

The New York Times broke the story, but we will put our press release on our website and it will tell a slightly expanded story.  in short, the technology we got from PARC and the story behind are likely to be one of the fundamental stories in the history of search.  The technology we have licensed from PARC will enable Powerset to create the first large-scale semantic index and natural language query capability on the Internet.  This natural language technology is very different from Google's page rank technology because it will allow us to provide features and functionality that are simply not available today. 

3) Let people know about the people who are on our team

Get ready, we are going to start sharing the names of the people who are part of Powerset.  Of course the NYT article already mentions Ron Kaplan, who headed up Xerox PARC's Computational Linguistics group and was the key scientist behind the PARC XLE engine which sits at the core of Powerset's linguistic parsing and indexing process. Early next week, we plan to issue a press release that goes into more detail about Ron.  In addition, Matt's VentureBeat article mentions Tim Converse, a spam expert formerly at Yahoo!, and there are many more announcements to come. 

We are currently on an aggresive hiring sprint and we have just launched our new jobs board to announce most of the jobs we currently have open.  At Powerset, we are looking for the best of the best and so far, we are really proud of the team that we have hired. We are creating a culture that is a once in a lifetime type of engineering organization. 

Over the next coming weeks and months we will be sharing news of other industry leaders who have joined the Powerset movement. 

What's Next?

This is our first volley of sharing information that will give the folks following Powerset an idea of how we can be David when facing Goliath.  Hopefully by sharing some of this information and letting some key people see what we are doing, it will become clear why the best search engineers in the industry are joining Powerset (including people that chose us over Google).


Look for us in the future to begin sharing either demonstrations or information about our scalability capabilities, our multi-language capabilities and our breakthroughs that have enabled us to scale to the size of Google without breaking the bank. I can't promise when we will share the information, but that's our plan for now.

BTW: just a hint, our engine already supports multiple languages and our core parser is language independent.

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