New Semantic Search Engine Wolfram Alpha Opens to the Public
A new way to search entered its testing phase this week, a semantic search engine called Wolfram Alpha. The big difference between using Wolfram Alpha and say, Google, is that google still uses a modified version of its 'lots of people link to this page' coding. Wolfram Alpha reads those sites and gives you the answer itself.
So for instance, if you ask where Marilyn Monroe died, Wolfram Alpha simply gives you the answer. Google gives you 1.76 million links to various pages of Marilyn Monroe trivia (although the second link does include that information).
I couldn't help but notice that there was nothing in Wolfram Alpha about NowPublic, Citizen Journalism or Crowd Sourcing - but keep in mind it is in its early stages.
The potential benefits mean that Wolfram Alpha could become both more reliable than Wikipedia for straight factual questions (though it will never be as in-depth as Wikipedia), and that its usefulness will grow very rapidly as more and more pages on the web get the sort of XML markup that means they can distinguish between Ford, the car, and ford, the method of getting across a river.
It's as though the enormous overpromise made all those years ago by Ask Jeeves - that it would understand natural-language queries - is finally starting to come true.
The idea is that if Google sorts through all the pages on the web and tells you which one to read, Wolfram Alpha reads them itself and then tells you the answer.
How does it work? There's a great article here that goes in-depth into the semantic search engine:
What you might not have read about is how Wolfram Alpha works, and exactly what's going on behind the scenes of the rather unassuming web site. And we're just about to tell you.