Why Wolfram Alpha won't replace Google

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Here are a few interesting viewpoints on why Alpha wont be a google killer, but a new kind of service that can function side by side.

This is from Doug Lenat - I was positively impressed with Wolfram Alpha:

At one extreme is, say, Google, which responds to almost anything like a faithful puppy bringing in the morning newspaper without understanding much of anything it's fetching (recognizing words in what it returns, often leading to amusing or hair-raising inappropriate "ads" being displayed, and leading to tons of false positives and false negatives). At the other extreme is, say, Cyc, which only can answer a small fraction of user queries, but can answer ones that require common sense (not just common sense queries like "Do surgeons often operate on themselves?", but ones where the logical application of such knowledge is required to correctly disambiguate and parse the user's query containing pronouns, elisions, ambiguous words, ellipsis, and so on) and where every piece of the query and every piece of the answer is as deeply understood as, say, arithmetic. Wolfram Alpha is somewhere around the geometric mean of those two extremes.

And this is from Physorg.com:

"Wolfram Alpha, at its heart, is quite different from a brute force statistical search engine like Google," Spivack said. "And it is not going to replace Google - it is not a general search engine," he said, adding that content sites like Wikipedia are more similar to Alpha than Google is.

"You would probably not use Wolfram Alpha to shop for a new car, find blog posts about a topic, or to choose a resort for your honeymoon," he said. "It is not a system that will understand the nuances of what you consider to be the perfect romantic getaway, for example - there is still no substitute for manual human-guided search for that. Where it appears to excel is when you want facts about something, or when you need to compute a factual answer to some set of questions about factual data."

Wolframalpha.com goes live May 9th... make sure to check it out. My first query will be "who am I?" - second query - "how did I get here?"


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