Power search:

What’s next for computer search engines? Google has put facts at the Web-surfing world’s fingertips with searches based on keywords and page ranks. But new engines are emerging, and they’re out to understand more about what people really want to know. It’s a fascinating attempt to make the world better informed with fewer clicks. In March, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, testified before Congress, that the future of the Web is a future of better data management.

“Today you can see the data with your browser, but can’t get other computer programmes to manipulate or analyse it without going through a lot of manual effort yourself.” For a computer programme reading for meaning is harder. But it’s not impossible.

The New York-based search company Hakia has created a “map of the language,” CEO Riza Berkan explained. In its search for “knowledge,” Hakia doesn’t just look for new Web pages, it looks for information it doesn’t already know. Another newcomer is Powerset, which is building a search engine based on language technology. When the search engine will go public , Powerset expects to have thousands of users who have a stake in the search engine because they’ve helped develop it. What’s next, apparently, are search engines that know what people mean. — The Boston Globe