This new engine had no gimmick Search Mistress spokeswoman (think the former msdewey.com), or ex- Google employees at the helm (cuil.com) – just the promise of being:
“the first step in an ambitious, long-term project to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone.“
Wow – now that’s some serious geek speak! But remember Google started with a similar vision – so the endless comparisons, whilst not entirely accurate, are understandable.
So with some serious processing power under the Hood, what is Wolfram Alpha and what does it offer the knowledge hungry user?
According to its own FAQ area: Wolfram Alpha is
a computational knowledge engine: it generates output by doing computations from its own internal knowledge base, instead of searching the web and returning links.
And there lies the key reason why it’s not a search engine. It’s potentially much smarter than a conventional search engine (depending on who you ask). It not only presents information, but performs calculations and data manipulations.
The ultimate goal:
WolframAlpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything.
So it’s quite an ambitious project – and could be the basis for an extremely valuable knowledge base given time and development.