A few days ago a friend of mine sent a link to Wolfram|Alpha, due to be released about now. The brain child of distinguished scientist, inventor, author, and business leader Stephen Wolfram, Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. Wolfram is also known as the creator of Mathematica, a powerful computational and visualisation tool upon which Wolfram|Alpha has been built.
I’ve spent a bit of time playing around with the search functionality and am impressed. While the search results at this stage tend to very US-centric in terms of the range of sources of information the potential of the tool can be seen immediately.
This is certainly one of those “watch this space” pieces of technology that will continue to grow and pave a way forward in the whole area of online search in years to come.
Watching the screencast is a good way to become familiar with what it can do.