Bing And The Wolf
For those of you who don’t know, Wolfram Alpha defines itself a ‘computational knowledge engine’, which is a rather vague title. Rather than providing lists of web pages that may or may not contain the answer you want, it computes factual queries from ‘structured data’. This basically means it computes the answer from algebra, symbolic, numerical, visualization, and statistics variables, providing you with easily understandable answers for factual questions such as ‘the capital of Uruguay’ or ’26th highest country by GDP per capita’.
This new integration gives Bing a slight advantage over Google, which has the majority of these capabilities already. Where Bing tips it is having the integration of a dedicated ‘answer engine’, developed over many years and built upon several previous versions (Mathematica etc). Through it’s evolution Wolfram has become a powerful search tool, pulling in data from a wide range of services rarely considered by other search engines. As internet search becomes more and more prevalent, these extra features will become more useful.
In market share at least, Bing is still a long way off. However, with the introduction of several new features recently, and the preview of the amazing Street Slide, they seem to be on a bit of a roll. Will this be reflected in the usage statistics?