Wolfram Research WolframAlpha
A typical search engine is a reference librarian: Ask it a question, and it suggests where to find the answer. WolframAlpha, physicist and software guru Stephen Wolfram's lifelong labor of love, is the impatient geek who overhears your query and leaps in with the answer. Enter a few words into the Alpha homepage, and the magic begins. It runs a series of algorithms that use context and probability to interpret what you're asking, scours more than 10 trillion pieces of data that have been painstakingly curated and sourced by a team of 200 researchers, compiles a series of answers by culling the information (using Mathematica, the computational software Wolfram built 20 years ago, which helps fund Alpha), and then presents the answers in text, graphs, tables, charts or maps. The engine can show you the exact position of the moon on any day in history, compare the results from your medical test with those of the wider population, and generally answer anything that calls for computing or referencing trusted facts, whether from physics, finance or football. As for the name "Alpha," Wolfram sees this as the start of a decades-long project to build a system that can compute all human knowledge. Says IBM emeritus computer scientist Gregory Chaitin, "It's the first step toward a real artificial intelligence."
Did you even try to use this search engine?
Or did you just read the over the top press releases, and believe ever hyperbole you read?
Agreed! While it may have taken time, effort and money to put together, this engine at this point is not "smart" enough to be helpful.
greggy and uffda -- I think you're missing the point. That you call it a 'search engine' actually betrays that fact. Wolfram|Alpha will never replace search engines like Google, and it was not designed to. Like any sophisticated tool, some effort is required to realize it's full potential. I've been using it for a few months and am increasingly astounded by how useful and powerful a resource it is.
If you want a list of sites about what a solar eclipse is, new stories about solar eclipses, and Randy's Awesome Solar Eclipse Page, go to a search engine. If you want to know when the next solar eclipse is in your area, it's duration, it's path across the Earth's surface, it's magnitude, etc., go to Wolfram|Alpha.
Amen. This is excellent. A perfect tool for a student doing research. Adding it to my favorites.
Definitely a winner.
I agree with the first poster, to an extent. While Wolfram|Alpha has amazing potential, it's still lacking in many ways, especially in terms of its language processing. It's still pretty limited, and to say it's not is dishonest.
Are you kidding me?
You are thinking in terms of a google or yahoo search engine. This has a completely different focus. It is a fact finder, not a site finder.