Watch out Google, Wolfram Alpha is Live
Google’s got some competition in search, but of a different kind. Wolfram Alpha – a computational knowledge search engine has gone live. According to the founder, the search engine aims to change the way in which people access data online.
Created by British-born physicist Stephen Wolfram, the new search engine is different from traditional ones in the sense that it does not send people to other sites for answers to what they are seeking. Rather, it gives direct answers to their queries.
First showcased late last month, Wolfram Alpha’s results to a user’s query are in the form annotated pages of data instead of a list of third-party websites. This is achieved through the computational engine behind the main website; the engine collates data from databases and consults feeds of relevant information to come up with answers to questions in the same format as they are asked.
The unique feature of the new search engine is that it can give you information about known facts, or generate new information based on your search query. An example would be calculation of the latest figures for your country’s financial indices. As it works on computational knowledge, Wolfram Alpha also has the ability to solve complex mathematical equations, create graphs and charts, and plot statistics.
The search engine’s database is human managed and collated by the staff at Wolfram Research. The data is spread across five datacenters with more than 10,000 CPUs. During a demonstration at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Dr Wolfram said: "Our goal is to make expert knowledge accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime.”
Dr Wolfram does not believe his brainchild is a competitor to Google; he sees it as a resource for people to get better information from the internet.