The Today Show May 19

Interesting story on the Today Show this morning with the announcement of new search engine Wolfram, which is touted by some to be a rival to Google.

Wolfram is definitely a useful tool, but unlike Google or Yahoo it doesn’t send you to websites, but gives you practical answers to objective questions. It was originally designed for mathematicians and scientists and tries to give answers based on facts. It does so by searching the web for exact answers.

I have found that when asking a question such as the “world’s tallest building” it answered the question, no problem. Not only did it give me the list of the five tallest buildings, and their height, it gave me the option to find out more information. However, when I asked it for the world’s oldest man, it could not answer the question – probably because there are too many aspirants to the title.

To be fair, the man who developed the programme – Stephen Wolfram – calls the service a computational knowledge engine, which it probably a more accurate description of the software.

Eventually I can see this being a very useful tool for school kids and university students who want exact answers to questions when researching projects – not only because it gives the correct answers, but goes beyond that with providing ancillairy information.

Is it a super intelligent version of Google? No. But it will certainly find a niche in the cyberspace landscape.