Wolfram Alpha http://www.wolframalpha.com is a computational search engine which uses a knowledge base from the Internet to apply search terms and return useful information on your search in addition to suggested web pages.
This newest addition to the search engine world is from WolfromAlpha, the makers of Mathematica, the most widely used mathematics software available today. If you’ve take a college math course you likely will have tried this software, which is very user friendly and intuitive for its users.
I spent quite a few hours querying search terms within WolframAlpha’s engine. The search term “H20” returned the formula for water, as well as a nice molecular representation. Entering “time” gives you the current time and a clock image too! The term “yesterday” yields yesterday’s date and many events related to that date, as well as the phase of the moon, sunset and sunrise.
So it appears that WolframAlpha is doing well in the world of quantifiable, but what about economic and financial terms like “NYSE”? WolframAlpha assumes you want a financial term as the querying result, returning a host of information from current stock charts, a scatter plot, financial indicators, and comparisons to other markets and histograms about NYSE. If you choose to search “NYSE” as a word it returns a slightly different result – still the New York Stock Exchange, its website address and definition, but also synonyms related to it. I decided I should explore this “fuzzy” logic some more.
I entered the search term “stock market” and WolframAlpha wanted to query on specific stocks, so I decided to use the term “market”. The result is interesting: a grammatical melange of definitions, phonetics, word frequency in the English language, narrower search terms and broader search terms, how to hyphenate this word, rhyming words and a graphic of a synonym network related to the word. Wordsmiths rejoice!
Now, what about the obvious: math and science terms? Enter square and you get everything under the sun for that term and its many representations. Geometric object is the default, and it gives you a picture of a square (how appropriate!).
Where WolframAlpha gets more powerful as a search tool is when it comes to web and computational terms. Enter google.com into WolframAlpha and the results include the domain, company info and net worth, site rank and statistics of visits on the site, date of creation of the domain and a nice HTML hierarchy of the site.
In addition, there are a whole host of types of terms to search ranging from geography (Massachusetts), astronomy (big dipper), medicine (Prozac), weather (today’s weather), nutrition (French Fries – be specific: Wendy’s, McDonalds, or Buger King?), music (C minor), colors (aquamarine), biology (horse), etc.
So, the next time you think of Google for searching, try WolframAlpha. It may give you a quicker answer than hunting through webpage after webpage hoping the page rank is high enough to find what you need. I think of this site as the intelligent search engine where other search engines require an intelligent search query by the user. Any questions? Just ask WolframAlpha.