Wednesday, May 20, 2009

WolframAlpha - another search engine

Google and Yahoo! do a great job of helping people find what they want on the internet. It is hard to remember what it was like years ago when information wasn't at your finger tips.

There many other search engines. Some are trying to compete with Google, while others focus on a niche.

WolframAlpha is trying to do more than merely find web pages, they are trying to be a "computational knowledge engine." It was launched this last weekend. Technology Review reports that it did over thirteen million queries over the weekend. Physorg explains:

A new search engine described as an "electronic brain" could make searching the Internet more intelligent. Called Wolfram Alpha, the search engine computes its own answers rather than looking them up in a large database, as Google and many other search engines currently do. With its computational abilities, Wolfram Alpha could lead to new types of questions, answers and computations that today's search engines can't handle.

Instead of building a list of links which hopefully match the keywords entered, WolframAlpha tries to build a report. When WolframAlpha is able to process the terms, it does a pretty good job. I entered the town I live in, the company I work at, and when I was born. With these WolframAlpha provided some useful information. But it drew a blank on "homeschool."

WolframAlpha is still new and I think it shows great promise. It will be interesting to see how it grows and develops. It might even challenge Google.

(Update: 20 May 2009)
Turns out WolframAlpha has a Terms of Use which is a bit restrictive.
(Hat tip: Groklaw)

Technorati tags: WolframAlpha


d3monoid said...

I think cant beat or challenge google in any manner :P
but can watch how it will get success

James Prevatt said...

Why would it find "homeschool?" What's there to compute?

BTW, It's not trying to beat Google. It's a whole different concept.

And, of course it's going to have a more restrictive TOS. It's actually giving you an answer, not just pointing you in the direction of finding as answer.

Meel said...

I asked Wolfram Alpha, along with other SEs, just to see how it works. It works wonder with numbers and scientific knowledge but not with my typical searches. Well, maybe because it's NOT a search engine, in the first place. But I don't deal with numbers all the time. It would be a great addition to search engines i am using such as, Google, Live, etc. though.