Thursday, February 1, 2007

Ask Innovates Search UI

Ask Innovates Search UI:...There are two fundamental areas of innovation in search - the back end, which Powerset is disrupting with its NLP technology, and the UI which companies like Ask are disrupting.

I wish my friends at Powerset the best, but I fear that this claim of disruption is premature, unless you measure disruption by press attention. I believe that NLP is more likely to improve search incrementally, by stealth, than through one fell disruptive swoop. As I noted before, new search technology has to be cost-effective to succeed, and I know of no evidence of that for broad-coverage NLP methods. Unlike, say, financial calculations or personnel database searches, where accuracy is not an option, search quality can be and has to be traded off with search cost.

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