Have you heard about Wolfram Alpha?
The company goes public on May 18th and offers a very different way of surfing the web. It could have as great an impact as any company ever has. It is a free Web site that is the result of years of secret work by a British mathematician—Stephen Wolfram—and his team of 250 colleagues. The project set the tech world on fire last week after a sneak preview at Harvard Law School, and may present the most powerful challenge yet to the Google behemoth.
According to Nicholas Ciarelli who wrote “The Google Killer” after he participated in the testing:
Instead of giving you a long list of Web pages, it simply computes the answer to whatever question you throw at it.
- What was the average temperature in Chicago last year?
- What is the life expectancy of a male, age 40, in New Zealand?
- If you flip a coin 10 times, what is the probability that four of the flips will come up heads?
- What nutrients are in two Snickers bars?
- How many people are alive today with the name “Nicholas”?
- How do oil exports in Iraq compare to those of Kuwait?
Wolfram Alpha is a frighteningly powerful calculator that is chock full of facts about the world. Type in a question in plain English: “What was the weather in Rancho Mirage when Gerald Ford died?” Wolfram Alpha instantly spits back the temperature, weather conditions, relative humidity, and wind speed, followed by a set of neatly formatted tables and charts.