Midnight on Friday saw the launch of the much awaited WolframAlpha engine. Not heralded as a search engine but rather a ‘Computational Knowledge Engine’ it is set to bring a new approach to searching the Internet. Taking a completely different approach to Google (brave move considering the success of the Internet Search Giant) WolframAlpha aims to provide actual solutions to queries thrown at it.
Having used the site only for a brief time it is impressive how much depth can be gleamed from seemingly trivial inputs. I can, for example, tell you that on the day I was born, 97.53% of the year had elapsed, and sunrise was at 9:40am, with sunset at 4:56pm. Not ground breaking I know but this is merely trivia. The site can pull up answers to mathematical computations along with graphics to support the response, detailed (and downloadable) maps, and global statistical data. So with a wealth of knowledge like this available can it really take a slice out of Google?
Only time will tell if Stephen Wolfram’s computational engine knows the formula for success.