Have you heard about the latest Next Big Thing? It’s called Wolfram Alpha and it is the new darling among digital geeks and the digerati. It’s unlike Google, Wikipedia or any other search engine in that it’s not a search engine at all; it’s a computational knowledge engine. At least that’s what its founder, Stephen Wolfram, a well respected computer scientist and the founder of Wolfram Research is calling it. So how does it work? Wolfram Alpha takes a question you type into a query box and gives you back a computational answer from reliable resources found throughout the web. What’s really cool is that it computes the answer on the fly and spits back charts, graphs, diagrams and links to other related questions and sources in the blink of an eye.
According to www.seobook.com (May 03), The major difference between Wolfram Alpha and existing search services is that it answers questions, as opposed to returning a list of pages. You mean it actually answers questions? How novel. So this is different from Google, in that Google shows you a list of websites based on your keywords, whereas Wolfram answers specific questions and also provides the data to back it’s “answers” up. If I squint real hard I can almost see HAL 9000. Although according to a blog post by the notable computer scientist Nova Spivak,Â “Wolfram Alpha is not HAL 9000, and it wasn’t intended to be. It doesn’t have a sense of self or opinions or feelings” . Darn, I was hoping Wolfram Alpha could share its feelings with me whilst I searched for the the latest information on Search Enging Optimization. Mr. Spivak goes on to say, “there is no risk of Wolfram Alpha becoming too smart, or taking over the world. It’s good at answering factual questions; it’s a computing machine, a tool — not a mind.
So far, the Wolf hasn’t even been released to the public yet, although the launch is being announced sometime this May. You can get a taste and see how it works by clicking here. Will Wolfram Alpha be just another wolf in the pack, or if will it dominate the herd. I can’t wait to find out.
Enzo F. Cesario