There has been a lot of talk about this new search engine by Wolfram which many called a Google killer.
The strange thing was that this happened without anyone being able to test the search engine. It finally is available now on the Internet, and anyone interested in the search engine may use it to find out how well it performs, and how it compares against other popular search engines.
The start page of the search engine lists a search form, and a hint at what it does, and what it does not do ("Enter what you want to calculate or know about").
The very same page lists examples of what Wolfram Alpha can do. If you click on math for instance, you are taken to the mathematics examples page that lists functions that are supported by the search engine. You do find basic arithmetic functions there, but also advanced functions like solving equations, computing an integral, or getting information on famous math problems.
The functionality of Wolfram Alpha was described in the following way on the initial homepage of the search engine:
Wolfram|Alpha'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. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.
It highlights the core difference between Wolfram Alpha and classic search engines such as Google Search or Bing. The goal of Wolfram|Alpha is not to index as many pages as possible. It clearly states that they want to collect and curate objective data only which limits the search range drastically.
It shines when it comes to search queries like "weather berlin germany june 3, 1988", "next solar ecplipse" or "us deficit" although it largely depends on how the search request is entered.
A search for "current us deficit" for example will not yield any results at all while the "us deficit" query will display results.
The search engine is in alpha stage and it is very likely that it will improve over time.
Wolfram|Alpha aims to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people—spanning all professions and education levels. Our goal is to accept completely free-form input, and to serve as a knowledge engine that generates powerful results and presents them with maximum clarity.
Wolfram|Alpha is an ambitious, long-term intellectual endeavor that we intend will deliver increasing capabilities over the years and decades to come. With a world-class team and participation from top outside experts in countless fields, our goal is to create something that will stand as a major milestone of 21st century intellectual achievement.
It is a Google Killer? No, definitely not. It does however provide better results than other search engines for results that can be computed mathematically, or are based on facts.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.