WolframAlpha : A Computational knowledge engine – I mistook it for a search engine.


I tried to search all kinds of things with WolframAlpha. Wolfram continued to spit relevant results and when it could not, it said so. Sorry dude I can’t do it. May be that is when I should have gone to Google. Not so fast, I said to myself and looked for few more results.

Beauty of this computational engine is if we search for IBM Cisco Google, it gives the comparison between all the 3 companies. If we have to get the same kind of information before we might have to spend more than 30 minutes.

If you want to compare stocks or want to get a quick company information there is no place like WolframAlpha. It comes with a caveat. It is only applicable for American companies and Indian companies still have to suffer.

Wolfram gives perfect results for mathematical equations like sinx/x, sin30, tan45 etc… But these things are not allowed in exams are they?

What happens when the engine itself is confused?

I searched for India business blog – no results.

I searched for India blog – no results

I searched for blog. Got results and this is what I got.


I meant a weblog.

I searched for India Forex reserves and I got $250 billion as an answer. Close enough. Got good results for India population too (BTW it is 1.17 billion as per 2007 estimates).

Being a curious George, I searched for Sachin Tendulkar and this is what I got.


True, even BCCI doesn’t know what to do with that input.

Wolfram sure looks like something which blogger’s and early adopters can use on a periodical basis. I would have used it but it doesn’t give me relevant information about Indian companies.

Not a Google beater, not even close. And that to me is a problem – a big one.

What does it take Google to come up  with something like WolframAlpha?

  1. ghosh says

    i agree its not a search engine. And it uses as of now is pretty limited…but the none the less it has taken a unique approach to get answers.
    At the same time its quite fun to use! try to converse with wolfram, it will talk back at you. like who are you/what is you name/ where do you stay/what do you do/ how old are you etc.
    the wolfram team has nice sense of humor i must say

  2. Sushant says

    Stephen Wolfram has never said that it should be compared to Google. It’s supposed to give factual data and numbers which the team has gathered and curated using it’s 2 technologies: Mathematica and NKS (New Kind of Science).

  3. Sriram Vadlamani says

    I agree. I mistook it for a search engine. As everyone else were thinking the same. But it is not and hence not comparable to Google.

  4. Arun Prabhudesai says

    Surprsingly Sriram, I carried out exact same search about “India Business Blog” and did nto giv eme anything and so with other regular searches. I think it is more of an answering engine to put it in plain simple language which answers questions, but does not give the “search results” in strict terms. I think comparing Woolfram with Google would be like comparing Apples to Oranges.
    Having said that, I must say that it has managed to create some good noise around blogosphere and social networks, as they are buzzing with it..

    I think it would be interesting to see its traffic over next few months – Is it going to go the same way as Cuil did – I think it will !

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