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PowerSet Picks Off Slew of Yahoo Search Employees

     

oddsod

10:55 am on Feb 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Powerset claims to have attracted a lot of Yahoo staff (article [venturebeat.com])

Powerset has picked off a dozen high-profile search experts from Yahoo and elsewhere. Unfortunately, it revealed their names to VentureBeat only on condition we not publish them. One name now public is Tim Converse, a Yahoo Web spam expert.

Powerset, a San Francisco search engine company, will announce Friday it has won exclusive rights to significant search engine technology it says may help propel it past Google.

Brett_Tabke

6:01 pm on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Ya, we knew about Tim Converse, but what about the other names?

Hmmm, and what is the "exclusive" search technology?

Sounds a bit too much like most "we are better than altavista->yahoo->excite->hotbot->inktomi->infoseek->lycos->alltheweb->google->msn->etal" claims.

sugarrae

6:16 pm on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I interviewed Tim Converse right after he left Yahoo and during the interview he stated he was heading to Powerset - when asked to give some details on what Powerset was, he stated:

The focus is on applying natural-language understanding technology to web search. They’re still pretty stealthy, so I’ll stop there.
.

You'll find some more info on them here [marketwatch.com].

oddsod

6:24 pm on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Tim announced in his blog a long time ago that he'd be leaving at the end of December '06.

Thanks for that link Sugarrae. She does seem besotted

Indeed, searching with Powerset was a far richer and more liberating experience than what you get with the rivals

You don't believe they have anything substantially new, Brett?

Optin

8:17 pm on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Being better than google does not guarantee success, except among geeks. The fact is a large % of the internet population believes that google is the only search engine in existence, so even a better engine could take a generation to alter that perception.

TravelSite

8:33 pm on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If it returns better results then great, but speaking personally if natural language also means having to type things like "where can I find green widgets" then I'd rather just enter "green widgets" and hope for the best - unless the results I get are substantially better.

However perhaps it will be geared towards speech - e.g. "show me where I can find blue widgets" (and it speaks results like that Scottish experiment). Speech could be useful in certain situations (and on mobile devices with or without screens).

wildbest

8:52 pm on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The fact is a large % of the internet population believes that google is the only search engine in existence, so even a better engine could take a generation to alter that perception.

Before Google a large % of the internet population believed AltaVista was the only search engine in existence, but it took only an year or two to alter that perception...

simey

9:12 pm on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, & a (generation) in web terms, maybe 2 years.

centime

9:31 pm on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This is interesting

Assuming that their algos can actually be shown to be superior to google,

will they have the muscle i.e servers, staff, facilities, memory banks, bandwidth, cash , cash, cash to actually compete with the big 3
an their little bro Ask

Then there is Alexa, search, stpt,,,,,,,

Plus, they are going to have to invest in getting their name out there

pageoneresults

10:14 pm on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



If they live up to their claims, one of the BIG 3 will surely purchase them soon after their launch. The BIG 3 are not going to let another player into their space right now. :)

blend27

11:50 pm on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Boney M: SUNNY

Freedom

1:33 am on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The BIG 3 are not going to let another player into their space right now.

Everyone there in the Silicon Valley orbit likes to pretend they have all the answers when in fact they hardly ever do. If their business model or economic response to the "answer" is to get bought out, then they never had the "answer" for nextgen search to begin with. Just a variation of what's already available.

fearlessrick

1:38 am on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This is already a non-story beacuse, according to Bambi Francisco:
Powerset won't be made available for the public to evaluate it until next spring, but it's clear I'm not alone in seeing the potential of this search engine.

A year from now and we should get excited? Doubtful. What will Google roll out in that time span?

Anyhow, I think Danny Sullivan has a better take on it. [blog.searchenginewatch.com]

I tend to buy Danny's analyses more often than Bambi's. It would be interesting to see how many companies, ideas and concepts Bambi hyped (she does work for Marketwatch, after all) actually succeeded as compared to Danny's regular pans of same.

Somehow, I am not comfortable receiving internet advice from a gal named Bambi, even though she is a cutie. I'll stick with Sullivan's DOA prediction... for a year at least.

[edited by: tedster at 4:59 am (utc) on Feb. 13, 2007]
[edit reason] fix link [/edit]

brundlefly76

2:19 am on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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@Optin:

" Being better than google does not guarantee success, except among geeks. The fact is a large % of the internet population believes that google is the only search engine in existence, so even a better engine could take a generation to alter that perception. "

Its funny you should say that, because thats exactly why I was surprised at how fast Google stole the search engine crown from Yahoo!

However, after that happened, I realized that the search engine title is indeed up for grabs for whomever can do it better.

For all the products Google has, the fact is that if someone steals search from them, they are completely screwed.

pageoneresults

2:21 am on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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For all the products Google has, the fact is that if someone steals search from them, they are completely screwed.

From where I'm sitting, Google has that number one spot locked tight. Ain't no one coming near them for quite some time. If they keep up with their current pace, no one will catch up. It will be a battle for the number 2 spot as that is the best they can do.

Google just isn't search anymore. Search was the stepping stone into the many diversified areas they now have their hands into.

Google is the Internet.

Chico_Loco

2:33 am on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It used to be that I'd get excited at the prospect of a serious competitor entering the search market.

Now I just don't care about these kinds of events until they actually enter the market and prove their value. Everybody that spoute off prior to entering has failed to live up to their self-published hype.

Best of luck though! We need something new in the search industry - badly.

rise2it

3:34 am on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Not to be a 'downer', but I simply don't see any new search engine really 'making it', regardless of what kind of dancing bear they have.

In the old days, the goal of a search engine was to provide better search results.

In the present, the goal of a search engine is to sell ppc ads.

Chico_Loco

3:53 am on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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In the old days, the goal of a search engine was to provide better search results.

In the present, the goal of a search engine is to sell ppc ads.

I think that the business savvy know that, in the long-term, the latter depends on the former.

Unfortunately, not top tech is business savvy, which is why a good mix of the two is necessary. Google has a great combination of management vs. tech, in my opinion.

Question is, can anyone else assemble a team with such a good balance of great skills, in both departments.

[edited by: Chico_Loco at 3:55 am (utc) on Feb. 11, 2007]

RedChair

8:08 am on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Why don't these guys just slap a butler logo beside the search bar and call it a day? Please, a Google killer? They aren't just a search engine, they are a brand and a frickin' huge one at that. PowerSet? Yeah, that name just rolls off the tongue. Man, wake me when something new and exciting happens.

AndAgain

5:27 am on Feb 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Its pretty obvious that have something up their sleeve...and "applying natutal language understanding to web search"...just like the dude said above, Mobile searching (yes without screens even) WOULD be something (especially with the right deal with a mobile provider) that could compete without a doubt.

Hmm how do we monitor rankings with no screen and voice input requirements? ;-) This WILL be essential in the future if you want to find out where you rank...

The evolution of the web did not start nor will it end with Google...dont get me wrong Google blessed us but they were only inspired by those before them.

AndAgain

[edited by: AndAgain at 5:32 am (utc) on Feb. 12, 2007]

rohitj

8:27 am on Feb 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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for those of you who cite altavista as an example of how fast a search engine can go downhill, I just want to point out that it was pretty much killed after being acquired by yahoo / mimicking some of the technology that Y had. It still gets a ton of pageviews -- especially for its branded babelfish translator and Yahoo was able to monetize it better than before with Overture.

Zamboni

3:14 pm on Feb 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If I remember correctly Alta Vista got beat by Google because AV started filling their results pages with ads. Google at that time provided a new clean and fast interface with no ads and good results. I hung in with Alta Vista for quite awhile until there was just too much crap to wade through. Also in Googles beginnings it was the geeks that propelled it forward into the mainstream so don't discount the geeks. ;)

As far as a new kid on the block beating or even becoming a player with the current juggernaut, I can't see that happening, they'd have to pay you to use their search. ...No wait, someone already tried that and it didn't work either.

bwnbwn

3:29 pm on Feb 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



"so even a better engine could take a generation to alter that perception"

I disagree because,

What made Google were webmasters so we forget the real power we do hold as I have seen and you have too web sites explode overnight. What makes us think the public doesn't see the results are suffering in the 3 we have now.

Google captured the search due to the revelant results they delivered I for on am tired of all the shopping sites and ebay ruling the searches.

Shopping sites are not what I am searching for never have purchased a thing off one of them as I can't stand a comparision site.

ebay 90% the time the sale is over and I just wasted another 3 mintues trying to pull the dumb thing up.

When I seach for something to buy I am not looking for an auction, a see how cheap you can buy it site. I have gone to them to slow and decieving on the landing page you go to the site, I then may have to search the site to find the product I am searching for again a complete Waste of time.

I search for a product give me a site to look at that carries the product not a show shopping site then search it then search the site wasting my time.

Now I normally have to go to the 2-3 page to get a decent site to look at.

If the new search engine delivers I feel the market is ripe for a explosion of growth for a good search engine to step in and grow.

Optin

4:32 pm on Feb 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Google - the Alpha and/or/not the Omega.

Reno

2:31 am on Feb 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Google at that time provided a new clean and fast interface with no ads and good results.

Exactly right. Google had an innovative algo, a clean fast loading home page, a billion dollar name, world class PR, and then the "Google Bar", which many millions of people downloaded so now whenever they search they use that.

The name "PowerSet" has no hope of catching on, IMHO. The one existing search service that could rise from the ashes and take on Google is Ask (yes, I said "Ask"). It's still a great name, but they need a ton of servers, the before mentioned innovative algo, and a whole lot of good luck. Otherwise, it remains Google's crown to lose.

..........................

Sharpseo

9:47 pm on Feb 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I agree that it'll be hard to unseat Google. (And with Reno's point the name "Powerset" is a strike against them).

Regarding Altavista, it isn't a very good example to demonstrate Google's vulnerability. AV was an underfunded and mismanaged side-project (and no one really thought there was $$ in search until it was too late for them).

AV, Yahoo, Hotbot all had huge market shares in there time. But the total # of internet users was nothing compared to what it is now. Google has almost 50% share of ~175 million users in North America, while Altavista might have had a 60% share of 20 million? (just guessing on the #s).

Altavista & other earlier SEs probably still retains a decent % of their early users, but the # of users was never very large in comparison to Google's current market share. That's Google's huge advantage. They've been on top during the fastest growth in internet use.

[edited by: Sharpseo at 9:51 pm (utc) on Feb. 16, 2007]

 

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