I have seen the future of search – and this demo of Wolfram|Alpha is so mindboggling in conception and ambition that when the site launches I want to experiment at length, when it launches on Monday. It’s essentially about fusing an analytical engine on top of search, drawing data from the web and then crunching it in a myriad of different ways. “Wolfram Alpha is like a cross between a research library, a graphing calculator, and a search engine.” “Wolfram Alpha can generate and compute vast amounts of data and present it using visual charts, spreadsheets and datasets in a dynamic fashion. ”
Its inventor sees it as complementary to Google – rather than a Google-killer. But it does seem like the future of search.
There are reports of a delay in the launch of the site and some observers are not super-impressed.
Yet anothern early experimenter confessed that “I Am Not Smart Enough for Wolfram Alpha”:
After playing with the very early version of Wolfram Alpha for a few hours, I agree that it’s not your average search engine. What is it? I’m not sure I’m qualified to say: Not only did I not understand all the answers I got from Wolfram Alpha, I couldn’t even comprehend some of the questions I could ask it.
While the underlying purposes are entirely different, I confess to wondering whether this makes Lexis/QL and Westlaw/Ecarswell look crude.