Lately there's been a swirl of buzz about Powerset, a stealth natural language processing search engine. Last week they released their first "Query of the week". Today we discovered that Powerset is launching Powerlabs (screenshot below), plus we got our hands on a second query. Here are the screenshots, neither of which has been seen before elsewhere:
A screenshot of the Powerlabs interface [Ed: does that dashboard really have the P-word in its menu?!]
The second Powersets query to be released
The Powerlabs program will take the Web community inside Powerset's development as an ongoing feedback and information portal, for groups of people who Co-founder Steve Newcomb terms "Powerlabbers".
Powerset is one of the most anticipated startups of 2007, but so little has really been revealed from behind their doors, and news coverage of the company essentially came to a standstill back in March. Powerset is a Silicon Valley company that received $12.5 million in series A funding back in November of 2006. The company founders - CEO Barney Pell, COO Steve Newcomb and Product Architect Lorenzo Thione - envision utilizing breakthrough technologies to provide more intuitive searches via natural language. The goal and end point are not dissimilar from those of Hakia and some others, but the technology and "middleware" will be vastly different, as we shall see. Hopefully our coverage of the Powerlabs program will enable us to differentiate Powerset from other search endeavors.
Powerlabs has been established to inform the Web 2.0 community and to gain feedback during the intermediate and subsequent stages of the engine's development. Powerset is following the track of other extraordinary startups in that they are working incrementally, meticulously and with feedback generated by the Internet community. A small group of people will test drive elements as they come online and the numbers of Powerlabbers will increase as scalability permits.
The big news today is that "it is on it's way"; and we will bring you a ringside seat to developments as they happen. Mark Johnson, Powerlabs Product Manager mailed us today with Steve's latest and there will be weekly updates and goodies for Powerset fans. So for now, we wanted to provide you with the very first inside look at Powerset in development. We are looking forward to the design competitions, demo tests and a whole series of surprises that these "rocket scientists" have in store. You can sign up for Powerlabs here and also see a cool video sneak peek here.
Be advised the image above is of the Powerlabs interface, but the Powerset engine will be much more typical of a search engine like Hakia (unless of course the community can come up with a better suggestion, and I already have one).