Search Results for: wolfram

Wolfram Alpha is Like My 5-year-old Niece

Wolfram AlphaLast Friday the much talked about Wolfram Alpha finally went live to the public. The news of an impressive search machine that utilizes Natural Language Processing has captivated the world of search for quite some time now. Being a SOSG myself, I naturally couldn’t wait to get my keyboard humming with queries! Here’s what I found:

My first query was for my company’s primary brand name. This was when I realized that Wolfram Alpha isn’t a search engine by the mainstream definition. Instead of posting a list of web sites Wolfram’s software analyzed the term itself and gave a unique interpretation including the term’s etymology. This would be impressive to say the least, however, my brand name is a completely made up word! That’s extremely impressive!

Wolfram|Alpha’s API Deal with the First of Many?

I given Wolfram|Alpha a hard time, but I think the service might be on the brink of finding its calling in life. After the highly speculated–but widely accepted as accurate–deal with Bing, it now appears Wolfram|Alpha will open up an API and become the provider to a host of data mashups.

At the moment, Alpha generates results that you can see on the website, export as a PDF or "play" using a Mathematica plug-in. Soon, Wolfram will be opening up its curated data that can be queried using an API, Conrad Wolfram said. This will provide yet another source of data that you can use to create projects and mash-ups with the information that we provide at the Data Store.


What Google’s Brin Said That Will Ruffle Wolfram Alpha’s Feathers

ZDNet’s Larry Digman suspects Google’s Sergey Brin is looking over his shoulder at the start-up Wolfram Alpha.

Picking through Brin’s annual “Founders’ Letter” Digman found this interesting little aside:

I think it will soon be possible to have a search engine that “understands” more of the queries and documents than we do today. Others claim to have accomplished this, and Google’s systems have more smarts behind the curtains than may be apparent from the outside, but the field as a whole is still shy of where I would have expected it to be.

I tend to agree that this is a reference to Wolfram Alpha, but I don’t think it suggests Google is concerned about the start-up’s claims. On the contrary, it appears this one statement sends a number of strong messages:

Wolfram Alpha: Exciting for Scientists, Boring for Everyone Else

Let me ask you something. Do you think we need Wolfram Alpha?

I know that’s the equivalent of asking someone circa 1999 “do you think we need Google?” but I’m just not sure what role the much anticipated search engine will fill.

Oh, excuse me. It’s not a search engine. It’s a “computational knowledge engine.”

The NYT tells us that Stephen Wolfram–Alpha’s creator–is “not keen” on the comparison with Google. But, even if it’s not a true search engine, will the average web user find value in Wolfram Alpha?

Consider some of the examples given to demonstrate the potential of Wolfram Alpha:

Type in “Pluto” and Alpha calculates the dwarf planet’s distance from Earth at that very instant…If you type “LDL 120,” it will return a graph showing the distribution of cholesterol levels among the United States population.

British Search Engine ‘Could Rival Google’

By David Lindop

It’s coming up to a year since I interviewed someone over at, a semantic, natural language based search engine. Now it seems another contender to the throne is making considerable noise in Britain where London-born scientist Stephen Wolfram believes he has set the foundation for a more intelligent search engine coined Wolfram|Alpha.


Wolfram aims to unveil the new search engine to the public in two months’ time, and has so far tantalised us with claims “that with a mixture of many clever algorithms and heuristics, lots of linguistic discovery and linguistic curation, and what probably amount to some serious theoretical breakthroughs, we’re actually managing to make [Wolfram|Alpha] work.”

Wolfram|Alpha’s Traffic Drops 82% Since Launch

Here’s what Wolfram|Alpha said about changes it’s made since its launch:

Let me sum up what really matters:

Why New Search Engines Shouldn’t Even Bother to Challenge Google

Whenever a new start-up makes bold claims about its search technology, my first question is usually: what’s to stop Google from building the exact same thing?

For the benefit of all future search engines, Google has kindly proved my point by practically undermining the first public demo of Wolfram Alpha with the announcement of its own structured data search.

Just how much of a threat is this Google announcement to Wolfram Alpha’s plans? Enough of a threat that TechCrunch received a screenshot that attempts to show how Google’s data just doesn’t stack up.

OK, so Wolfram Alpha’s search data does look prettier in this example. But, here are the challenges the start-up faces:

  1. What the heck is a Wolfram Alpha? I hope they re-brand.