TrueKnowledge is unveiling a demo of its private beta today and looks like an interesting site to watch. One cannot help but think of the still-unlaunched Powerset, but it's also reminiscent of the very real Ask.com "smart answers".Venture funded UK semantic search engine
Though the video the company published this morning speaks quite well for itself, the gist of what's happening is this. TrueKnowledge combines natural language analysis, an internal knowledge base and external databases to offer immediate answers to various questions. Instead of just pointing you to web pages where the search engine believes it can find your answer, it will offer you an explicit answer and explain the reasoning patch by which that answer was arrived at. There's also an interesting looking API at the center of the product. "Direct answers to humans and machine questions" is the company's tagline.
It sounds very interesting and I'd love to get my hands on it. Unfortunately, the company isn't allowing general access to the site and hasn't given me a login yet either. I hope it's real and really performs as advertised. It takes a very special technology to get coverage of a screencast and coverage again of an actual product release later. This might be one of those technologies. With the sense of self-importance that's implied by the act of unveiling your private beta to the world, one hopes there will be some meat here.
Founder William Tunstall-Pedoe says he's been working on the software for the past 10 years, really putting time into it since coming into initial funding in early 2005. Hopefully there won't be a Powerset style wait for the actual product. Keep an eye on our network blog AltSearchEngines for coverage of TrueKnowledge and the rest of the search engine world as soon as information emerges. See also Alex Iskold's excellent write up on a top-down approach to the semantic web and our coverage of semantic app Twine.