Wolfram Alpha: The Beginning

    May 18, 2009
    Chris Crum

Wolfram Alpha launched on Friday night after much anticipation. The search engine, which began generating most of its hype a couple months ago experienced problems right out of the box.

 Many users trying to see what all of that hype is about were met with fail messages referencing 2001: A Space Odyssey. Some have been forgiving of this failure, considering that the project is in Alpha, but opinions were mixed among those who experienced Wolfram Alpha without a hitch.

Wolfram Alpha (impressed)

Wolfram Alpha (not impressed)

 Comments from around the web say things like:

–  "Wolfram is useless. Can someone please tell me why wolfram is better than Wikipedia?"

– "I asked it how many miles around the Earth was, and it didn’t know. Why did they waste so much time/money on this, again?"

– "A lot of the mathematical proofs and descriptions of algorithms on Wikipedia are surprisingly well written. You’re telling me Wolfram Alpha can replace that? In fact, Wikipedia is a completely different type of service."

– "Wolfram alpha search engine is a genius."

– "Wolfram alpha – its the classic case of overhype. It’s clearly got a use but not for the general public as a search tool."

– "Not understanding Wolfram Alpha at all… Unlikely to become a verb isn’t it? Prefer just searching to ‘systematic computable knowledge’."

– "Wolfram Alpha is a pretty awesome idea and so far its been very fun…"

You can search Twitter of course, and see a broader range of thoughts about Wolfram Alpha. Have you used it yet? If so, let us know what you think about it. Does it have a place in your search toolbox?