By 5 years ago in Search

Wolfram Alpha

Today marked the official launch of Wolfram Alpha, a research engine designed to offer instant information about almost anything you care to ask it.

People are calling it a Google killer but that’s like calling Wikipedia a Google killer when the two work perfectly hand in hand. Wolfram Alpha is a tool to give you all the information you want to know about a particular “thing” whether it’s a company, town, chemical element, person or date.

The reason Wolfram Alpha is so good is that it uses a cross between algorithms and people to ensure the accuracy of it’s data, kind of like Wikipedia would be if people weren’t allowed to edit it.

Wolfram Alpha has been running very slowly all day today which means they are already hugely successful – any service that can’t cope with traffic on day 1 is surely going to be something amazing, especially when you consider the servers they are running:

We’ll service Wolfram|Alpha from five distributed colocation facilities, which we somewhat unimaginatively call locations 0, 2, 3, 4, 5 (1 as a backup). What computing power have we gathered in these facilities for launch day? Two supercomputers, just about 10,000 processor cores, hundreds of terabytes of disks, a heck of a lot of bandwidth, and what seems like enough air conditioning for the Sahara to host a ski resort.

What does it all add up to? The ability to handle 175 million queries (yielding maybe a billion) per day—over 5 billion queries (encompassing around 30 billion calculations) per month.

The fact that this service was built to cope with 175 million queries per day and is already struggling on day one is quite staggering.

Hand in hand with Google

Wolfram Alpha is quite rightly going to be a big force in the search results (notice how Google is already indexing search pages?) because people will love to link at the answer pages with keyword rich anchor text, just like they do with Wikipedia. The potential traffic Wolfram Alpha can get from Google is immense and Google will be more than happy to send the right type of queries straight to Wolfram.

By Patrick Altoft. at 9:03PM on Saturday, 16 May 2009

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.

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18 Responses to “Wolfram Alpha”

  1. Wolfram Alpha: Today marked the official launch of Wolfram Alpha, a research engine designed to offer instant in.. http://tinyurl.com/oqhrbv

  2. Yay! RT @patrickaltoft Wolfram Alpha: Today marked the official launch of Wolfram Alpha. http://tinyurl.com/oqhrbv

  3. You must try Wolfram Alpha: Today marked the official launch of the research engine of choice http://tinyurl.com/oqhrbv

  4. Wolfram Alpha: Today marked the official launch of Wolfram Alpha, a research engine designed to offer instant in.. http://tinyurl.com/oqhrbv

  5. [...] Blogstorm skriver att Wolfram Alpha äntligen öppnat. [...]

  6. For what i’ve seen wolframAlpha cannot compete with google because they are simply two different search engines.

  7. Good post about Wolfram Alpha

  8. venkat says:

    Wolfram alpha can no tbe compared with Google ,it’s computational knowledge engine than search engine

  9. Thomas says:

    I have listed the funniest search results in Wolfram Alpha :)

    http://tvundso.com/2009/05/16/spass-mit-fun-with-wolfram-alpha/

  10. [...] I watched the Wolfram Alpha demo and it is mind blowing. Also, if you have time please read the wonderful review by futurelawyer, see cool examples on Mashable,  an an explanation of why it is NOT a Google Killer. [...]

  11. Thanks a lot. I thought Alpha was going to be realeased mid June. I’ll check it out though from earlier accounts it appears to be a scaled up version of Start.

  12. It’s looking very informative and effective same time. Remarkable!!

  13. Wolfram Alpha has been falsely advertised as being the competitor of Google when in fact it is the competitor of Wikipedia. I wonder if it will be more accurate than it too.

  14. SEODr says:

    I also read Google are working on a similar system, which compete with this search engine directly.

  15. [...] post by Patrick Altoft aggregated by [...]

  16. I think this post was right on. Wolfram Alpha is not a direct competitor of Google. This is where a lot of people are confused. It definitely helps when you have commentary that sets the record straight, as this blog post has.

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