acquired the semantic search engine Powerset a little more than a month ago, but today, the Powerset team announced the first integration of its search technology into Microsoft's Live Search. Specifically, Live Search will now show better instant answers for queries like "San Francisco weather" and return better results based on Freebase and Wikipedia articles. Currently, these Powerset enhanced results will only appear for a random set of users, but over time, we assume that most of these features will be rolled out for everybody.Microsoft only
Powerset has also integrated xRank biographies into Live Search, which, at least for us, appeared in almost every related search. Live Search will also make use of Powerset's Factz engine to display better related searches.
It is encouraging to see that Microsoft has been able to integrate Powerset's technology into its own products this quickly. Live Search, which is far behind Google in terms of market share, needs exactly these kinds of features to make its search more relevant.
After the acquisition was announced, we wondered if a combination of Microsoft and Powerset could indeed beat Google. Judging from these first results of the Powerset integration, we can at least conclude that Microsoft will make a strong effort to beat Google in terms of search relevance. Whether this is enough to challenge Google's dominance remains to be seen.