Read the classic Dealers of Lightning sometime for a long-term perspective on Xerox PARC.
On Friday, PARC is announcing a deal that underscores that strategy. It is licensing a broad portfolio of patents and technology to a well-financed start-up with an ambitious and potentially lucrative goal: to build a search engine that could some day rival Google.
The start-up, Powerset, is licensing PARC’s “natural language” technology — the art of making computers understand and process languages like English or French. Powerset hopes the technology will be the basis of a new search engine that allows users to type queries in plain English, rather than using keywords.