‘Wolfram Alpha’…Another Google In The Making?

by Salman on April 30, 2009

A British-born physicist Stephen Wolfram has come up with a Web Tool termed as ‘Wolfrom Alpha’ that could be “as important as GOOGLE“. The “Computational Knowledge Engine“, as the technology is known, will be available to the public from the middle of May this year. It is a free program that aims to answers questions directly, rather than just give a list of web pages as most of the search engines do in response of a query.

“Our goal is to make expert knowledge accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime,” said Dr Wolfram at the demonstration at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

People can use the system to look up simple facts - such as the height of Mount Everest - or crunch several data sets together to produce new results, such as a country’s GDP.

The tool computes many of the answers “on the fly” by grabbing raw data from public and licensed databases, along with live feeds such as share prices and weather information.

Wolfram Alpha

“Like interacting with an expert, it will understand what you’re talking about, do the computation, and then present you with the results,” said Dr Wolfram.

Dr Wolfram said the “trillions of pieces of data” were chosen and managed by a team of “experts” at Wolfram Research, who also massage the information to make sure it can be read and displayed by the system.

Wolfram Alpha 1

Nova Spivak, founder of the web tool Twine, has described Alpha as having the potential to be as important to the web as Google. “Wolfram Alpha is like plugging into a vast electronic brain,” he wrote earlier this year. “It computes answers - it doesn’t merely look them up in a big database.”

This sounds really interesting but only time will tell that it can really be as useful and important as google. I would say, comparing a brand new web tool with google and expecting wonders will be a little too much but as i said only time will tell. May be after a couple of years my web browser’s home page will be set to wolframalpha.com rather than google.com  You never know.

Here is a short presentation by Dr. Wolfram on his project.

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