Microsoft sees Powerset-powered search ad revolution
Natural language processing could let advertisers bid for search ad placement based on broad concepts, not just a gaggle of keywords.
Stephen Shanklandprincipal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertiseprocessors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, scienceCredentials
I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
SAN JOSE, Calif.--Microsoft bought search start-up Powerset with the expectation that its
natural-language processing technology would give a better understanding of search queries and the content of Web pages. But wait--there's more.
The company also believes Powerset's technology could help advertisers find placement on Web search results, said Scott Prevost, Powerset's general manager and product director, in a meeting here with reporters in conjunction with the Search Engine Strategies conference.
Today, advertisers bid to have their ads shown on search results pages depending on specific keywords that users type into search engines. That can be an onerous process, given how many keywords are involved with a particular segment. Using natural language processing could lead to an entirely different mechanism for linking ads to search results, though, Prevost said.
"If people aren't bidding on keywords, and are bidding on concepts, it could completely change the ball game," Prevost said.