The new search engine tool that is “possibly a rival to Google” has gone live. “Wolfram Alpha is called a computation knowledge engine rather than a search engine and wants to change the way people use online data. It aims to give people direct answers to queries rather than send them to other sites where they may find what they are seeking.” “Typically the results it returns are annotated pages of data rather than a simple list of other sites that might help resolve a user’s query.” – BBC.
The new engine reminds me of Askjeeves.com that attempted to do something similar but was based on a different technology.
I conducted some “simple” and “complex” searches in Google and Wolfram and below is a sample of two.
Question: The number of websites on the internet.
With Google I got my answer within one click and it gave me suggestions (I love that feature):
With Wolfram the result was a message saying “Wolfram|Alpha isn’t sure what to do with your input.” – so I never got my result.
Search: Population of Manhattan
With a simple data question Wolfram did great and Google took a bit of digging through the Wikipedia link to find my answer.
My conclusion for now and you never know what the next beta versions of Wolfram will bring is that Wolfram reminds me more of a library reference tool but definitely not a replacement to Google, more of a companion – which might have been their aim.