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Interesting new search engine

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by vic, May 18, 2009.

  1. http://www39.wolframalpha.com

    HOW long would it take an auctioneer to speak 6000 words? What was the weather in Beijing on the day Kevin Rudd was born? How many Americans are named Andrew?

    Google and Wikipedia flounder with such questions, but a new search engine called Wolfram|Alpha has the tech world abuzz with the promise of more than linking to countless web pages or canvassing a broad topic.

    Named after its creator, the British physicist and mathematician Stephen Wolfram, the free site went public at the weekend and will be launched tonight amid high expectations. What separates it from everything else is an ability to interpret complex questions in everyday language and answer those questions by consulting disparate pieces of information.

    A Sydney technology author and futurist, Mark Pesce, is among those who have been awaiting the debut. "It could take the way we think of the internet in a new direction," he said. For example, while Google can identify the nearest place for pizza, Wolfram|Alpha is designed to tell you where to get the best pizza, Mr Pesce said.

    It may be some time before www.wolframalpha.com tackles culinary debates, but the example reflects its ability to interpret data from unrelated sources. "It's going to have enough natural language guts to be able to look at a whole bunch of articles and judge them," Mr Pesce said.

    The fledgling site is biased towards the sciences but its ability to infer conclusions from data is where the potential lies.

    An expert in human-computer interaction at the University of Sydney, Professor Judy Kay, said the fact that Wolfram|Alpha's sources were vetted by humans put it into a different league from Google or Wikipedia.

    "Google searches are really dumb," Dr Kay said. "They're using simple words without knowing what they mean." Wikipedia lists facts but can't do anything with them. He [Dr Wolfram] can answer queries that take combinations of things across his data, which means he can answer more complex sets of questions than Google can."

    Mr Pesce says Dr Wolfram can be taken seriously because of his computer program Mathematica, which is capable of symbolic maths. "In engineering circles, he's a bit of a god," Mr Pesce said.

    For the record, Wolfram|Alpha's answers to the questions posed are: 24 minutes; 21 degrees and clear skies; and 1.06 million.

    Taken from this "The Age" article
  2. That will not take off purely because the name of that search engine is too long to say, too hard to remember, and too foreign to type quickly for most of the western world.

    They change it to was.com or something instead, and it may actually go somewhere.

    It's a shame, I guess, but good ideas still need marketing.
  3. My question; "what is the meaning of life"

    Answer; 42.

    Not bad.

    Edit: Actually fail, the next 3 questions I asked it returned; "Wolfram|Alpha isn't sure what to do with your input."

    Questions were;

    -What is the best sex position?
    -Why are you here?
    -Do you do anything useful?


    Edit 2: Ultra Fail;

    I asked it; "where is the best Pizza"
    It returned; "Wolfram|Alpha isn't sure what to do with your input."


    ok back to work... oooo look, bubble wrap...
  4. i won't be surprised if they shorten the name to an acronym of some sort and make that the search engine instead. like... wolf.com or wolfalpha.com

    maybe. :p
  5. :p

    Seems pretty cool, but yeah, name as is, is too long, was, or wolfram is good tho...
  6. The following are some of those innovative search engines that provide intuitive user interfaces and alternative SERPs presentation methods. None of them actually have any significant market share but you never know how things change in the future.

    #1 SearchMe
    Search Me provides one of the most interesting user interfaces to render the SERPs as a set of flip pages. You can browse through the pages very fast and click the one that looks like the one you want. The advantage here is that you get to see the content (especially useful for image search and the sites that you are familiar with). The result set, though looks like a screen shot, has the search strings highlighted on it. Moreover, you can hover on the highlighted page to get the classic search page data (URL, title and excerpt). The result set shown is rendered via flash for a very intuitive search experience. Looks like SearchMe has cached several screen shots of static pages while it dynamically renders pages that change periodically.

    Search me also offers category specific (blogs, images, video, music, news) search like most popular search engines do but it offers many more categories than the usual ones.

    #2 Scoopler
    Scoopler claims to be a real-time search engine. What does it mean? It simply means that the aggregation and indexing of the web pages happens as and when they are available (or changed). Scoopler does this by indexing live updates from social media, social networks etc. While traditional search engines crawl at a predefined time or frequency, scoopler indexes it as and when it gets alerted. This approach may be useful for aggregating social media/network updates but I am not sure how effective it will be to index traditional website/blog contents.

    #3 Search-Cube
    Search-Cube provides yet another visually appealing search result set in the form of a cube of pages. The cube can be flipped, rotated or page-skipped using keyboard arrow keys or mouse. Rendering is flash based and using thumbshots. I did not quite like the usability of it but the SERP cube looks awesome. The quality of the search results are not that good as well compared to the other second-tier search engines.
    #4 LeapFish
    I had talked about LeapFish sometime ago. Leapfish provides an AJAX based search interface that simultaneously searches Google, Yahoo and MSN and renders the most appropriate consolidated result set from all those search engines. In addition, it categorizes the output very nicely as web page results, images, news, answers, videos etc.

    #5 ViewZi
    ViewZi relies on Google search for the data but renders the result set into rows and columns of screenshots and title/description. It is pretty easy to navigate and due to the compact tabular display, it can show more results (18 or 20) per page which I found pretty convenient.

    It is possible to integrate ViewZi Site Search with your WordPress blog to enhance your default search features.

    #6 Cuil
    I liked Cuil for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is damn fast and the number of indexed pages is huge though I am not sure if it’s sourced from one of the leading search engines. Secondly, along with the search results it lists some related categories on the right sidebar plus some of the related search words as tabs on top. Another interesting aspect is the pagination at the bottom that is frozen where as most other search engines, you have to scroll down to find the next pages link. In terms of relevancy, I thought the results were pretty good just like leapfish.


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