Microsoft talks up semantic search ambitions

Semantic technologies help computers better understand information in order to provide better, more relevant search results

Semantic search capabilities were hailed by a Microsoft official Tuesday as a better way to get users to the information they need.

During an interview and a preceding presentation, Scott Prevost, principal development manager for Bing search technology at Microsoft, touted developments in search as well as possibilities. He appeared at the Web 3.0 conference in Santa Clara, Calif.

With semantic technologies, which also are being to referred to as Web 3.0, computers have a greater understanding of relationships between different information, rather than just forwarding links based on keyword searches.

The end game for semantic search is "better, faster, cheaper, essentially," said Prevost, who came over to Microsoft in the company's 2008 acquisition of search engine vendor Powerset. Prevost is still general manager of Powerset.

Semantic capabilities get users more relevant information and help them accomplish tasks and make decisions, said Prevost.

"Traditionally in the past 10 years, search has been about query and a page. It'll become more interactive, [with] more tools for helping people refine their queries. It's really going to be more about people making real-world decisions rather than just finding some links," Prevost said.

Efforts are under way to extend semantic search to include social networking posts. "I think there's all kinds of things you want to surface," Prevost said.

"When the revolution is happening in Iran and people are using Twitter as the only form of communication, ideally, the search engine should understand what that is, understand from the social network what are the important communications and help to organize that," Prevost said. Search technology has not yet reached this stage, he said. "But we're getting there," said Prevost.

Information about anti-government protests in Iran last year was disseminated through Twitter messages.

Meanwhile, freshness of Web page remains critical, said Provost. "This has been sort of a driving aspect of search engine development for the past 10 years -- the drive to improve relevance," he said.

Bing features semantic capabilities like presenting more readable captions based on linguistic and semantic analysis of content, said Prevost.  The concept of entity extraction is leveraged in Bing, providing knowledge on phrases and what they uniquely refer to, Prevost said.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftweb 3.0bingsemantic web

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Krill

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?