Keyword Search, Plus a Little Magic by Geoffrey Pullum.
From the post:
I promised last week that I would discuss three developments that turned almost-useless language-connected technological capabilities into something seriously useful. The one I want to introduce first was introduced by Google toward the end of the 1990s, and it changed our whole lives, largely eliminating the need for having full sentences parsed and translated into database query language.
The hunch that the founders of Google bet on was that simple keyword search could be made vastly more useful by taking the entire set of pages containing all of the list of search words and not just returning it as the result but rather ranking its members by influentiality and showing the most influential first. What a page contains is not the only relevant thing about it: As with any academic publication, who values it and refers to it is also important. And that is (at least to some extent) revealed in the link structure of the Web.
In his first post, which wasn’t sympathetic to natural language processing, Geoffrey baited his critics into fits of frenzied refutation.
Fits of refutation that failed to note Geoffrey hadn’t completed his posts on natural language processing.
Take the keyword search posting for instance.
I won’t spoil the surprise for you but the fourth fact that Geoffrey says Google relies upon could have serious legs for topic map authoring and interface design.
And not a little insight into what we call natural language processing.
More posts are to follow in this series.
I suggest we savor each one as it appears and after reflection on the whole, sally forth onto the field of verbal combat.