New Search Engine Wolfram Alpha "Could Be As Important As Google"

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Launching a new search engine these days is a dangerous venture. Saying it “could be as important as Google” is a major claim for something that hasn’t even debuted yet.

But British scientist Stephen Wolfram is saying that about his search engine, Wolfram Alpha, which is set to be rolled out in two months. On the Wolfram Research site he wrote:

"Fifty years ago, when computers were young, people assumed that they’d quickly be able to handle all these kinds of things … and that one would be able to ask a computer any factual question and have it compute the answer."

"But it didn’t work out that way … I’d always thought, though, that eventually it should be possible. And a few years ago, I realized that I was finally in a position to try and do it."

Wolfram claims that his search engine can understand the questions asked and answer them based on natural language processing.

"The way humans normally communicate is through natural language – and when one’s dealing with the whole spectrum of knowledge, I think that’s the only realistic option for communicating with computers too."

"Of course, getting computers to deal with natural language has turned out to be incredibly difficult. And, for example, we’re still very far away from having computers systematically understand large volumes of natural language text on the web."

Currently search engines compare the query against the billions of sites on the Web.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, of course, but Wolfram has impressive form – he created the widely-used program Mathematica.