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article imageOp-Ed: Wolfram Alpha Search Engine Not a 'Google Killer'

By Chris V. Thangham     May 17, 2009 in Internet
The search engine Wolfram Alpha finally launched this weekend after initial delays. It is definitely not a “Google killer” yet, according to

Introduction to Wolfram Alpha.
Wolfram Alpha is finally working now at this link after initial unknown delays. It resembles another much hyped search engine “Cuil”, which many said at that time was a “Google killer” but instead it almost disappeared.
Wolfram Alpha calls itself “computational knowledge engine” and gives more of a summary of results based on the data it collects from known databases. Instead of giving thousands of search results, it gives a compilation of various definitions and combinations on one page.
For example, a Google search for the term “Star Trek” would yield thousands of links of articles, photos, and videos, whereas the Wolfram Alpha would give the names of director, producer, actors and actresses. Google provides the main link of the movie “Star Trek”, IMDB’s movie database information, Wikipedia information, trailer videos and other information.
The speed of Wolfram Alpha is disappointing for now compared to the speed at which Google provides its results. The speed factor, however, can be discounted for now and hopefully Wolfram Alpha will improve it in the near future.
Wolfram Alpha’s search engine is powered by the powerful “Mathematica” software and collects data from know databases in the web. In it’s about page, it says the following about the search engine.
"Wolfram|Alpha aims to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people—spanning all professions and education levels. Our goal is to accept completely free-form input, and to serve as a knowledge engine that generates powerful results and presents them with maximum clarity,"
The new search engine is good to investigate the mathematical formulas. Google also shows the results but we have to click a few pages to get the correct result. Here is one example of how good Wolfram Alpha works:
Wolfram Alpha provides solid information about statistics but it gets results from old databases, so if you want the latest information use Google instead. It also gives incorrect answers for some queries such as “Victoria, Australia”. It gives answer about Hong Kong and Australia.
When we search for “population usa” it gives results based on 2007 data. Google shows the results from July 2008 data.
The Google Operating System blog says Wolfram is good for simple things like numbers, dates, HTML codes, chemical formulas etc. They call Wolfram Alpha an “Answer Engine”.
Google provides similar results like “One Box” and tries to get as much information about the search query in one single box at the top along with other search results. Here is one example for "time London".
In my opinion, Wolfram Alpha won’t supplant Google any time soon but it can be used as a good alternative to the search giant. In fact Google can provide the same results of Wolfram Alpha with a new site or a button like “I’m feeling lucky” and provide a summary of results in one page.
What are your thoughts about Wolfram Alpha? Is it good compared to Google?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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