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Monday, March 16, 2009

A Web Site As Important As Google?

Wolfram Alpha is Coming

This will not replace Google or be a competitor search engine. Rather, it will be an answer engine. Instead of crawling pages and giving you links to pages that may contain what you are looking for, Wolfram Alpha will spit out an exact answer. An answer could include various charts, relevant diagrams, graphs, and links to other related questions and sources.


In a nutshell, Wolfram and his team have built what he calls a "computational knowledge engine" for the Web. OK, so what does that really mean? Basically it means that you can ask it factual questions and it computes answers for you.

It doesn't simply return documents that (might) contain the answers, like Google does, and it isn't just a giant database of knowledge, like the Wikipedia. It doesn't simply parse natural language and then use that to retrieve documents, like Powerset, for example.

Instead, Wolfram Alpha actually computes the answers to a wide range of questions -- like questions that have factual answers such as "What is the location of Timbuktu?" or "How many protons are in a hydrogen atom?," "What was the average rainfall in Boston last year?," "What is the 307th digit of Pi?," or "what would 80/20 vision look like?"

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