Nowadays there are little news related to new (and really exciting) developments in search engines, natural language parsing and similar stuff. For most people, the only news related to those subjects come from new Google features or one or another project that eventually fails, like that search engine by the Wikipedia founder that was so popular I can’t really remember the name or quickly find it… But today I found something new, really new, fresh and exciting.
Wolfram Alpha, describes itself as a “Computational Knowledge Engine”, but that doesn’t really say much. The really difference between it and any other thing you find laying around a corner of the Internet is the amazing quantity of structured and organized knowledge. Coupled with a reasonable natural language parsing engine it can produce the most amazing results I ever seen a computer generate.
You can search for things from simple “2+2” up to complex integral math equations. But it isn’t limited, at all, by math boundaries, you can search all kinds of data like presidents, GDP of countries, stocks, world statistics (i.e. mountains, bridges, etc.. ), medicine, chemical compositions and properties, physics and you can even see properties and relations between chromosomes. It then uses charts, tables and generated images to represent everything, be it a direct search, a comparison of 2 or more things, or a complex math/physics/weather pattern. It really looks like they’re going a step further than Google and Wikipedia. Wikipedia has the raw knowledge and Google searches, Wolfram Alpha seems to be able to use the knowledge it finds to understand how to couple several different facts and/or things creating a truly useful experience and sense of a whole new information age.
Enough said, words can’t really express it no matter how much I try. Go and watch the Screencast they prepared. Personally, I can’t wait to have access to it.