Microsoft plans to use Powerset to tailor search

Microsoft plans to use the tools it acquired in Powerset to “gain an edge against Google” according to a report coming out of the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose on Tuesday.  Senior Vice President Satya Nadella believe that gaining, and then using, a better understanding of user intent will help Microsoft to stop spinning its wheels in search market share.  According to Nadella:

“I believe this notion of understanding user intent–being able to analyze (search queries) and come up with search patterns and use them to shape the search experience–is one of the most important areas for us”

Microsoft continues to languish behind the search leader, with another round of bad news coming from Neilsen Online, showing Google continuing to gain, and Microsoft continuing to slip in US search market share.

However the news isn’t all bleak, as Microsoft believes strongly in the potential advantages provided by Powerset.  And they’ve got another ally, too: Bill Gates.  Scott Prevost, Powerset’s general manager, was quoted as saying that “Bill has definitely not retired for us”.  Gates, who has stepped down from day to day operations, has said that he planned to continue to work on search.

Nadella also discussed plans to provide more directed experiences in subcategories such as travel, health, images, and video, according to the CNET Webware article by Stephen Shankland.  Indeed Live Search seems to provide a better user experience in these areas already, although it has not seemed to help their cause much, yet.