Read/Write Web writes about NLS and the NYT article:
Based on what we have seen so far, it is difficult to see how these companies can beat Google. Firstly, being able to enter the query using natural language is already allowed by Google, so this is not a competitive difference. It must then be the actual results that are vastly better. Now that is really difficult to imagine. Somewhat better maybe, but vastly different? Unlikely.
It seems there is a common misconception about NLS which limits the application of NLP to the search query. One has also to account for the fact that NLP can and will be applied to interpreting the data in the content store - for example, parsing the sentences in the text into some logical form that can then be indexed. I'm not sure how this misconception got started, but it renders Alex Iskold and Robert MacManus' statement that natural language is 'not a competitive difference' moot.