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I’ve been so-so about the Wolfram|Alpha hype, but it finally launched and it’s definitely neat. Comparing it to Google is semi-ridiculous as Google uses structured data and “facts” only as an afterthought.

The servers are taking a beating right now, but here are some queries that were interesting to me:

A lot of data I encountered is old-ish – a lot is from 2004 — which I think says more about the crappy state of authoritative structured data than Wolfram|Alpha itself.

I think the most exciting thing about Wolfram|Alpha is that it’s intriguing and useful enough that it may encourage more organizations and individuals to make their current data available and keep it up to date. Which would be a huge benefit to everyone.

Posted on - May 16, 2009 [at] 7:20 am by Brad
Tagged in - , ,

2 Comments on this post

Aaron on Wolfram|Alpha
May 16, 2009 at 2:33 pm

You’re just jealous that we were always ahead when the classes were alphabetized.

(I was literally born at the exact peak of my name’s popularity!)

Rob Fielding on Wolfram|Alpha
July 27, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Months later, and you can put in simple statements like “speed of light” which it knows; but then it promptly vomits when you give it “speed of light” * 0.5 — which is completely trivial. I was trying to do useful things like:

(2 * “distance from washington to tel aviv”)/”speed of light”

It doesn’t have the faintest clue what to do with it. You have to run each query separately to plug in values. All the esoteric information the ‘curate’ is useless if it can’t do this simple task of assigning facts to variables.

Comments are closed on this post.