Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday it had agreed to buy Powerset, a start-up that is working on a new class of Web search that relies on insights from linguistics rather than simple keyword strings.
Satya Nadella, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Search, Portal, and Advertising business, confirmed the purchase in a statement, following months of rumors that they were in merger talks. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Powerset’s technology breaks down the meaning of words into related concepts, freeing users from having to type the exact words they want to find. This emerging approach to Web search, known as semantic search, has fascinated researchers for decades but proved frustratingly difficult to commercialize.