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Wolfram|Alpha: Our First Impressions April 28, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities.
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The hype around Wolfram|Alpha, the next “Google killer” from the makers of Mathematica, has been building over the last few weeks. Today, we were lucky enough to attend a one-hour web demo with Stephen Wolfram, and from what we’ve seen, it definitely looks like it can live up to the hype – though, because it is so different from traditional search engines, it will definitely not be a “Google killer.” According to Stephen Wolfram, the goal of Alpha is to give everyone access to expert knowledge and the data that a specialist would be able to compute from this information. […]

Alpha, which will go live within the next few weeks, is quite different from Google and really doesn’t directly compete with it at all. Instead of searching the web for info, Alpha is built around a vast repository of curated data from public and licensed sources. Alpha then organizes and computes this knowledge with the help of sophisticated Natural Language Processing algorithms. Users can ask Alpha any kind of question, which can be constructed just like a Google search (think: “hurricane bob” or “carbon steel strength”). […]

Will it Kill Google?

No. Wolfram|Alpha will be an amazing product, but it’s quite different from Google and other search engines. Indeed, maybe it is actually wrong to call it a search engine at all (and Wolfram prefers to call it a “computational knowledge engine”). If you wanted to know what sights to see on your next trip to New York City, for example, Alpha, from what we’ve seen so for, will not be able to help you.

Alpha, however, will probably be a worthy challenger for Wikipedia and many textbooks and reference works. Instead of looking up basic encyclopedic information there, users can just go to Alpha instead, where they will get a direct answer to their question, as well as a nicely presented set of graphs and other info.

via Wolfram|Alpha: Our First Impressions – ReadWriteWeb.

Have a look also to a Live Webcast, where Stephen Wolfram give a demo about Wolfram|Alpha: Wolfram|Alpha demo

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