Monday, May 18, 2009

First Look at Wolfram Alpha a Bust

Since I knew you would be expecting a report, I decided to check that highly publicized new website, Wolfram Alpha. Theoretically, it will give Google a run for it's money. First look review: don't waste your time or sell your Google stock. While I am sure it has some bugs to work out, Wolfram Alpha not only loaded slowly, it also timed out. It's brilliance? I decided to type in "Brandenburg Concerto," the famous pieces by J.S. Bach known to nearly everyone, as my search term. The result? "WolframAlpha isn't sure what to do with your input."

Giving Wolfram another try, I clicked on music, then typed in "Brandenburg Concerto." Wolfram Alpha still didn't know what to do with my input, so I gave up.

I would note that a Google search for "Brandenburg Concerto" was much more fertile. The first few results included the score, 2 Youtube performances of selections, the Wikipedia entry, and a link to an article at NPR with a 58 minute program featuring a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Update: Did I give up too soon? The Guardian reports that Wolfram Alpha is very useful for the question, "mount everest height divided by length of golden gate bridge." And over at Mashable, they asked a number of clever questions, and the responses were quite interesting.


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