Wolfram Alpha: What Google's New Rival Knows -- and Doesn't
Clever presentation, but a weak database: The soon-to-be-launched Wolfram Alpha search engine is already being touted as the "Google killer." SPIEGEL ONLINE has tested a preliminary version. The conclusion: It knows a lot about aspirin, a little about culture -- and it thinks German Chancellor Angela Merkel's political party is an airport.
Wolfram Alpha is not a "Google killer." Nor is it, in fact, a search engine. Instead, it is a "computational knowledge engine," says Stephen Wolfram, inventor of the new online service. He proudly describes his creation as "a new paradigm for the use of computers and the Web." His goal is to finally make good on the promise that computer pioneers made in the 1950s: to make computers that can come up with their own answers to questions.
Wolfram Alpha: More an "answer engine" than a search engine.
Now Wolfram wants to revolutionize the way we search for answers online. The Wolfram Alpha "answer machine" is meant to show us how to get there by doing much the same thing as Google -- only better. Well, at least in theory.
Election results, company sales figures, TV viewer levels, and Olympic medal tables -- SPIEGEL ONLINE tests how well Wolfram Alpha knows its stuff.
- Part 1: What Google's New Rival Knows -- and Doesn't
- Part 2: Politics -- Elections, What Elections?
- Part 3: Countries -- Suspicious Statistics
- Part 4: Economy -- Nice Comparisons, Shame about the Sources
- Part 5: Comparing Computers -- Macs = Lubricants
- Part 6: Celebrities -- What Does Angela Dorothea Kasner Do?
- Part 7: Science -- Everything about Aspirin
- Part 8: Culture -- Who on Earth is "Star Trek"?
- Part 9: Sports -- The Olympics? Never Heard of It
- Part 10: Conclusion -- Strong Design, Weak Database
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2009
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH