Any idea where everyone from PowerSet has disappeared? Or is it just that I’ve not been keeping my ears close enough to the ground (yes, this is a Last of the Mohicans reference) to know the latest dish?
I saw them at SFBeta in September; I was duly impressed and had a hundred follow-on questions which I didn’t have an opportunity to ask. But fast forward to now – six months from then, and I still have no idea when they are launching. Q2? Q3? How much money will they have burned pre-launch?
Damn, I’m jonesing for an information fix.
After my last post (where I totally got busted for being a dirtbag cynic), I wanted to post my thoughts on the SFBeta event today.
PowerSet was the main event; companies like Kosmix and others did smaller demos (no PowerPoint, wobbly table, poor wireless; you get the idea).
Scott Prevost, PowerSet’s director of Product took the stage at 7:30pm after a rather lame speech by the event’s main organizer (no offence, but he definitely looked bombed). After this, Scott proceeded to an extremely slick demo site for PowerSet and showed us how PowerSet blows the rocks off Google for the following queries:
- Who did PeopleSoft acquire? PowerSet gets it right; Google blows it and shows links for the Oracle Corp.
- Acquisitions in 2001. This is a keyword query, not a question. PowerSet presented a nice list that included snippets with words such as “sold” and “bought” instead of just sentences with the word “acquisition”. Google did not do so hot.
- Who mocked Tony Blair? PowerSet returns results with the words “mocked”, “caricatured”, “lampooned”, etc. Google half-asses this one.
- PowerSet only showed results based on a Wikipedia index. We’re talking about 2 million pages here, so this is effectively small potatoes and nowhere near Internet scale. Getting to Internet scale isn’t trivial by any means, especially since doing heavyweight NLP processing at that scale has got to be a dog. But those guys are smart and probably have a handle on the issue.
- PowerSet did not take audience questions. This totally stinks, but it may well have been an issue of “event format”. Additionally, there were plenty of drunk people there, so this may have been a good call after all.
- PowerSet did not accept audience queries. To be fair, though, they *did* set up demo pods for a little product called “PowerQuotes”. I had to cut out and didn’t get a chance to play with it…sigh.
All in all, a good evening. Except for all the pain-in-the-ass drunk Giants fans on the Caltrain.
I’m super excited. After tons of hype, I finally get to see a live demo of PowerSet, the “secretive new search engine that claims to have cracked the natural language search problem”. The event is SFBeta; it’s being held at 111 Minna in the city.
The geek within wishes for a great demo and restoration of a “childlike sense of wonder” (thanks Fake Steve!). But the cynic within wishes for a fall-flat-on-their-face demo. Oh, the sense of schadenfreude!
I’ll update with my thoughts when I get back!
I’ve mentioned earlier how I get a fair amount (ahem, relatively speaking) of traffic from plain old web search. This allows for a little bit of insight into “The Database of Intentions”, to quote John Battelle. In other words: people type funny shit and I get to laugh.
I went to see Bill Maher at Flint Center the other day; see complete review of his performance here. During the show, Maher claimed that Republicans had a newly blossomed man-crush on Reagan and that “they want to put him on a stamp so they can lick his ass”.
Unless you are totally uptight, this is pretty funny. But check out this screen shot of what someone searched for to get to my review (“Reagan stamp ass Bill Maher”):
Is it just me or can that search term be interpreted several different ways? Good luck, PowerSet!!!