I’ve finally had some time and tested the recently launched and much hyped Wolfram Alpha computational knowledge engine. Make no mistake, this is not a classic search engine. The “computational knowledge engine” phrase really has meaning. If you’re expecting search results similar to those of Google’s then you’re in the wrong place.
But what Wolfram Apha does ? It searches in structured data and displays it in easily readable format, format that differs for different types of data. Be aware that it does not return results from other sites. It just returns answers to your questions formatting it so you can easily read it.
And with over 50000 algorithms and more then 10 trillion rows of data Wolfram Alpha can do a lots of things.
For example i searched for:
– some geographic stuff: Danube (river), last earthquake in japan (it returns the list with earthquake that you can fine tune), next eclipse in germany (returns the date and infos about the next solar eclipse visible in germany)
– some chemistry: ethane (returns: formula, representation and everything from boiling point to critical pressure)
– some stock exchange information: google (returns stock evolution, prices and more)
My conclusion is that Wolfram Alpha is not a Google competitor as many claim it. In fact you can even find links to Google satellite images in the information boxes for place names. This suggest that Wolfram Alpha doesn’t want to compete with Google and Google may appreciate this favor, returning it in some way.
Wolfram Alpha is a fact verifier and it will give you just raw facts, no opinions, no comments. In this way it may have and i believe it will have much more success then last years so called Google killer that just was forgotten (Cuil)