Web start-up Powerset has offered a glimpse into the future of search with tools that allow Wikipedia users to employ "conversational phrasing" techniques instead of keywords.
The US-based company is the latest search specialist to showcase tools that embrace the principle of semantic search, often espoused by web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
A 'semantic' approach differs from the current generation of keyword services used by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft by attempting to understand the actual meaning of a query.
Instead of throwing up a batch of isolated links that require further research, as often happens with keyword searches, Powerset claims to offer a means of getting detailed answers more efficiently.
When surfers click on a search result they can summarise long pages of content, helping them to pinpoint key information quickly, according to the company.
"Unlike other search engines that index keywords, Powerset does a deep linguistic analysis on every sentence it reads," said the company in a statement.
"We extract and index facts about each sentence in each page, making our index the first truly robust semantic index of the web."
Powerset is currently limited to Wikipedia, but the company intends to expand the search technology to other products in the coming months.
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