Five Things Wolfram Alpha Does Better (And Vastly Different) Than Google

by admin May 19, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Wolfram Alpha is not a search engine. Perhaps it will one day become one, but currently it’s exactly what its tagline says: a computational knowledge engine. However, it looks like Google, it provides you with answers and therefore most users will try to use it as a search engine, which doesn’t always yield good results. Once you start asking it the right questions, it’ll give you better answers.

I’ve spent a couple of days with Wolfram Alpha, and I’ve learned to love it for all the ways it’s different than search engines such as Google. Here are some guidelines which will help you shake off that “search engine” frame of mind and perhaps help you start using Wolfram Alpha to its full potential.

Complex queries

When you type a search query into Google, it understands what you want because the query is usually simple. If you give it a lot of data, it’ll get confused. Google searches, it doesn’t compute; and this is where Wolfram Alpha shines. It does not care at all how many arguments you give it; just like a calculator, it couldn’t care less if you’re adding up two or fifty numbers. That’s why concatenating many arguments in a query often works extremely well.

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