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New service uses linguistics to search for answers and send reply via SMS
Posted on 18-Aug-2004 20:33. | Tags Filed under: News.

The language technology company Linguit GmbH has announced the launch of Nuggets, and claims it is the first automatic search engine for mobile phones based on popular text message (SMS) technology. Nuggets, developed by engineers in the UK and Germany, uses methods from computational linguistics to understand questions sent as text messages to 88600 (UK), and searches the Internet for an answer, which is returned within seconds, and for a fee of 50 pence.

The difference between this system and similar propositions like competitor Re5ult (read our review) is the lack of human intervention. Linguit says the system answers correctly when faced with messages like "ASK When was Madonna born?" or "ASK Do male kangaroos have bags?" (each question must be prefixed by the word 'ask'). It is hoped to help settle arguments, to inform, and to entertain. The company warns that for reasons of fairness it should not be used in a pub quiz when competing for a prize. The accuracy on the answer largely depends on the quality and quantity of the Internet sources utilised by Nuggets, which are not disclosed.

Linguit's managing director Jochen Leidner says the Nuggets service is intended to empower mobile users, who might not have Internet access by other means. Text messages (SMS) are largely popular in the UK and continental Europe, having quickly evolved into a huge market.

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