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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Is Wolfram Alpha a Google Competitor? The Real Answer

Posted by @ 8:31 pm

Last week saw the official launch of a new search engine, sorry a computational knowledge engine, named Wolfram Alpha.

This new engine had no gimmick Search Mistress spokeswoman (think the former, or ex- Google employees at the helm ( – just the promise of being:

the first step in an ambitious, long-term project to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone.

Wow – now that’s some serious geek speak! But remember Google started with a similar vision – so the endless comparisons, whilst not entirely accurate, are understandable.

So with some serious processing power under the Hood, what is Wolfram Alpha and what does it offer the knowledge hungry user?

According to its own FAQ area: Wolfram Alpha is

a computational knowledge engine: it generates output by doing computations from its own internal knowledge base, instead of searching the web and returning links.

And there lies the key reason why it’s not a search engine. It’s potentially much smarter than a conventional search engine (depending on who you ask). It not only presents information, but performs calculations and data manipulations.

The ultimate goal:

Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything.

So it’s quite an ambitious project – and could be the basis for an extremely valuable knowledge base given time and development.

Needless to say the launch has created quite a stir in the industry. If you want to get a better understanding of the service and the opinions and thoughts around it, here’s a collection of resources for you to digest!

Wolfram Alpha Approaches 100 Million Queries
Wolfram Alpha is the new Wolfram Alpha, not the new Google
Wolfram Alpha gets supercomputer boost
Five Things Wolfram Alpha Does Better (And Vastly Different) Than Google
Wolfram Alpha Introductory Video

Rene LeMerle Rene is the marketing manager of - a global search engine marketing company. He also leads the marketing for - a web 2.0 style community for online and digital marketers. Rene has been in the industry since 1997 with much of that time spent helping businesses embrace the best of the internet and digital world.

View Rene LeMerle's profile

Discussion (2 - comments)

[...] the Wolfram Alpha launch confirms people are still interested in exploring new and innovative ways of searching. But is the [...]

By Microsoft to Unveil New Search Engine – Say Hello to Bing! | ineedhits - May 24, 2009

An interesting concept but hardly of any use to the majority of the web users, at first glance it seems to be a normal search system but after trying a few queries it’s apparent that it is no more than a mix of a dictionary, thesaurus and scientific calculator.
While this mix may entice the ultra geek element of web users for the majority it will present no value and speaking of value how do they plan on monetising the system after all if it doesn’t earn you money how do you re-coup the investment.

By Dave Gilbert - May 28, 2009

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