Natural-language user interface

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Natural-language search engines
– Wikipedia is one of the oldest search engines.
– Lexxe closed its search engine services in 2015.
– Pikimal used natural-language tied to user preference for search recommendations.
– Powerset introduced a tool for searching a fixed subset of Wikipedia using conversational phrases.
– Microsoft purchased Powerset in July 2008.
– Q-go provides relevant answers to user queries on websites or intranets.
– Q-go’s technology can process natural sentences or keyword input.
– RightNow Technologies acquired Q-go in 2011.
– Yebol was a vertical decision search engine.
– Yebol developed a knowledge-based, semantic search platform.
– Yebol’s algorithms automatically clustered and categorized search results.
– Yebol integrated natural-language processing and machine algorithms with human knowledge.
– Yebol used association, ranking, and clustering algorithms to analyze related keywords or web pages.

Examples of natural-language interfaces
– Ubiquity is a Firefox add-on that allows users to get information and relate it to webpages.
– Wolfram Alpha answers factual queries directly using structured data.
– Siri is an intelligent personal assistant application integrated with iOS.
– Ask.com supports keyword searching and answers questions in natural language.
– Braina is a natural language interface for Windows OS.

Challenges
– Users may anthropomorphize the computer and have unrealistic expectations.
– Challenges include modifier attachment ambiguity.
– Conjunction and disjunction in natural-language queries can be ambiguous.
– Anaphora resolution is needed to understand self-referential queries.
– Speed, efficiency, and localization are important considerations.

Uses and applications
– Dictation is a common use for automated speech recognition systems.
– Command and control systems perform functions and actions on the system.
– Telephony systems allow callers to speak commands instead of pressing buttons.
– Wearable devices benefit from natural-language interfaces due to limited inputs.
– Natural-language interfaces assist people with disabilities in various fields.

Related topics
– Conversational user interface is a related concept.
– Natural user interface is another related concept.
– Natural-language programming is a relevant topic.
– Voice user interface is also related.
– Chatbot is a computer program that simulates human conversations.

Natural-language user interface (LUI or NLUI) is a type of computer human interface where linguistic phenomena such as verbs, phrases and clauses act as UI controls for creating, selecting and modifying data in software applications.

In interface design, natural-language interfaces are sought after for their speed and ease of use, but most suffer the challenges to understanding wide varieties of ambiguous input. Natural-language interfaces are an active area of study in the field of natural-language processing and computational linguistics. An intuitive general natural-language interface is one of the active goals of the Semantic Web.

Text interfaces are "natural" to varying degrees. Many formal (un-natural) programming languages incorporate idioms of natural human language. Likewise, a traditional keyword search engine could be described as a "shallow" natural-language user interface.

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