Answers to Questions: Wolfram Alpha Search Engine

There’s a new player in town for the search engine business. Nope, not that ‘Google killer search engine‘ called Cuil (aint that defunct yet?) The new search engine that’s making a buzz in the world wide internet is called Wolfram Alpha.

I first read and heard about this from a collegue who writes on review ninja and most of the info you’ll read about Wolfram alpha search engine here are borrowed from TechCrunch and other Wolfram Alpha wikis.

What is Wolfram Alpha?

Wolfram Alpha is an web service that answers queries directly by computing the answer from structured data. What does that mean? Well, unlike most conventional search engine (Google, Yahoo, MSM, Asks others) where searchers put it the info they want to find out and presented with tons of websites or webpages about that keywords,  Wolfram Alpha can answers questions that the searhers asks!

The developer of Wolfram Alpha, Stephen Wolfram, says that the unique search engine is build on what he calls “computational knowledge engine”. What is it? Well, basically it means that you can ask it factual questions and it computes answers for you.

TechCrunch explains it more concise:

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 country is Timbuktu in?” or “How many protons are in a hydrogen atom?” or “What is the average rainfall in Seattle?”

Remember the keyword there… Wolfram Alpha Search Engine answers questions with “Factual Answers“. So, I guess questions like, “What would the political status of Pres. Obama be in 5 years?” or “Who’ll be the next president of the Philippines?”. Meaning Wolfram Alpha does not predict future or gives opinions. The answers it has are FACTS.

How Does It Work

Wolfram Alpha contains formal models of much of what we know about science — massive amounts of data about various physical laws and properties, as well as data about the physical world. Remember all facts. Otherwise the answers will not be 100% true.

Since it ‘computes’ for the answers, it not like wikipedia where all the info are in a static, non-changing page. This means that if you asks a questions that needs to be computed, Wolfram Alpha Search can do it for you. Those are scientific or Mathematical type of questions of course.

What the Future for Wolfram Alpha?

So, where’s Wolfram Alpha heading? No one knows actually, even Wolfram Alpha would know the answers if asked that question *grin*… It really all depends on the acceptance of the internet users on this new technology.

All I can say is that, let’s try it out. If it clicks, it clicks… I am sure Google is doing something that can compete with Stephen Wolfram’s baby. Let’s wait.

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