San Francisco-Based Startup Introducing Search It Hopes Will Challenge Google

A San Francisco-based startup is hoping to be able to challenge Google with its own search engine that uses a so-called "natural-language" technology.

After nearly two years of hushed development, Powerset is finally providing a peek at its new search engine built to outsmart Google during an exclusive high-tech conference in San Francisco.

Powerset is offering its first public preview today of its technology that uses algorithms programmed to understand search requests submitted in plain English.

That's a change from the "keyword" system used by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft and the owners of the other leading engines.

This isn't the first time a search engine has tried to understand simple English, but Powerset has drawn more attention because its natural-language technology is being licensed from the Palo Alto Research Center.

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