Google: Inside Search

SkyPhrase and Natural Language Understanding

Natural Language Search is just beginning--

SkyPhrase Is Bringing Natural Language Understanding to the Web | MIT Technology Review: "Natural language search could make it easier for people with little or no training to ask complicated questions that typically require searching through large stores of data. Besides Facebook’s efforts, Wolfram Alpha can answer natural language queries, and Apple’s virtual assistant Siri also encourages users to speak questions aloud in complete sentences (some of its answers come from Wolfram Alpha). Percy Liang, an assistant professor in Stanford’s computer science department who studies natural language processing and machine learning, thinks SkyPhrase’s idea is a good one, but cautions that there is a lot of work to be done to make natural language processing work. He says challenges include determining what a word or phrase means based on its context—such as knowing that Obama is not just the U.S. president’s name, but also a city in Japan—and the ability to pick up on sentiment—such as a Yelp restaurant review that says, sarcastically, “I had to wait an hour for this!”"

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