TrueKnowledge: A Look at Natural Language Search


I saw a write up of TrueKnowledge earlier on ReadWriteWeb, and must say that if this company can deliver what they are saying, they really could give Google a run for their money.

Some might say, “big deal. did that already with answers years ago”. Not so. TrueKnowledge seems to take things a step further by being able to translate multiple complex queries and make sense of data found in their internal knowledgebase, as well as harvest external information. The video shows a practical application of this when they ask the system to find the current time at the GooglePlex.

Still, AskJeeves is still fresh in some people’s minds. This story speaks of the demise of Jeeves:

The decision to drop Jeeves was a necessary step in an important re-branding process, said Crisp. When the site launched in 1997, “we had a team of editors looking at the top queries on AskJeeves and surfing the web on their own to pull together search results. This was good for popular questions, but it didn’t scale. Suddenly you needed more editors for more queries, which were becoming more diverse and specific. We were over-promising and under-delivering.”

Undoubtedly, there will be similar concerns of scale for TrueKnowledge. However, their approach appears to be different. For instance, if you type in a question that the system doesn’t know the answer to, you as the user have the ability to add and verify facts…rather Wikipedia-esque.

TrueKnowledge’s API information sounds promising, as does their architecture. Everyone likes architecture diagrams. And they should: such tools are a great way to explain a quick summary of system flow to both technical and non-technical crowds alike:

TrueKnowledge system architecture

Some of their features a very interesting to be revealed for a search engine.

Take the recent history, for instance (click for larger view):

TrueKnowledge recent user activity

Their video is a must see. It even has a great British voice over by TrueKnowledge founder William Tunstall-Pedoe, to which some think sound uncannily like the guy that does those Dyson vacuum commercials (props: Tanner). Accent or not, this looks to be a very promising solution. Granted, watching a staged demo doesn’t speak to all the challenges and pitfalls of maintaining such a system on a global scale, but they appear to be setting things up in the right direction.


  1. Tad Chef

    “We’re sorry the video is no longer available.” Don’t trust the YouTube censors. Download videos and post them on you won site or use video sites that do not delete.

  2. Tad Chef

    It’s back up it seems.