There’s a brand new shiny search engine due to be released this May, which many have tipped to rival Google.
The idea behind the idea
The Wolfram blog post The Quest for Computable Knowledge: A Longer View cites the idea of Gottfried Leibniz, a German philosopher and mathematician; “He really had pretty much the whole idea of Wolfram|Alpha—300 years ago. At the end of the 1600s he came to believe that somehow there must be a way to mechanize the resolution of all human arguments”. Simply said, there is a way to rationalise our discourse, or a computer can find the answers to our questions.
Head to head
Technology Review provide a good blow by blow account of the differences between the two search engines in their article Wolfram Alpha and Google Face Off, where they test various search terms and analyse the results. Their finding was that “on many common questions for which there is no obvious data element, you will not get much help.”
At present, it reads as though Wolfram|Alfa is not quite there yet. A closer description of what it is currently could be that of Search Engine Landwho brand it a “Fact Engine”. Wolfram themselves describe it as a “computational knowledge engine”, which suggests they are looking to take it a step further than what we think of today as a “search engine”.
This is not to say that things won’t improve in the future; “Building the ultimate computational knowledge engine is a highly ambitious and long-term project. The Wolfram|Alpha that you will get to start exploring next week is really just the beginning”.
For more information check out the Wolfram blog.