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Bing Integrates Wolfram Alpha, Google Wants to BE the Internet

Gordon Kelly


Bing Integrates Wolfram Alpha, Google Wants to BE the Internet

Two moves closer towards world domination from tech's two biggest companies today...

Firstly Microsoft continues its polishing of the increasingly impressive Bing search engine with the announcement it will integrate "computational knowledge engine" Wolfram Alpha into its results. The implementation will be incrementally rolled out and comes after Wolfram Alpha (or 'Wolfram|Alpha' to be exact, but it pains my keyboard) opened up its API little over three weeks ago.

"By using our API, Bing will be able to seamlessly access the tens of thousands of algorithms and trillions of pieces of data from Wolfram|Alpha, and directly incorporate the computations in its search results," said Wolfram spokesperson Schoeller Porter. "Microsoft's initiative and interest in Wolfram Alpha began earlier this year."

To date Wolfram Alpha has had a mixed reception so it looks a smart (and seemingly non-exclusive) move. Essentially a brilliantly clever concept in search of a user base, Wolfram Alpha is a mathematical search engine which takes queries such as London to Sydney or How tall is the Eiffel Tower compared to the Statue of Liberty? and gives you detailed results. Problem is, aside from hardcore mathematicians, it has so far proved to be largely of novelty value in day-to-day life and the learning curve for phrasing questions correctly is steep. Blend results with that of a traditional search engine however and things begin to make more sense.

In related news Google continues its arguably faster route to world domination with the announcement of 'Google Go' - its own systems programming language. Google argues "builds take a fraction of a second yet the resulting programs run nearly as quickly as comparable C or C++ code." It also claims Go will rid programmers of stack overflows, pointer arithmetic and other coder related terms I don't fully understand.

What does seem clear though is, if Go takes off, we'll be using Google to search for content created using Google. Now that's kinda scary.


Wolfram Alpha Blog Post

Google Go


November 12, 2009, 9:39 pm

Programmers have had options that are free of stack overflows and don't allow pointer arithmetic for years now. The main features they seem to be claiming of the language are abstracted multithreading and less clutter.

Paul Randle

November 12, 2009, 11:18 pm

A steep learning curve means that one can learn a lot in a small amount of time. Is this what you really meant?


November 12, 2009, 11:21 pm

@Paul Randle - Obtuse question aside, yes and no. Yes, you can indeed lean a lot about how to use Wolfram Alpha in a short period of time. No, because many are not prepared to invest in a steep learning curve to learn how to use Wolfram Alpha in a short period of time. It lacks intuition.

Robert Elliot

November 13, 2009, 12:14 am

I think the X-axis on the classic learning graph is "Amount you can achieve", with the Y-axis being "Effort you have to put in to learning". Hence a steep learning curve means you have to put a lot of effort in before you can achieve much.


November 14, 2009, 4:05 am

Fascinating - if I was building myself a new lean super fast Operating system - I'd probably write myself a nice compiler and pre-compiler that produced nice lean optimised code ....

It seems to me that it's then smart to release the associated tools and language for any developer to start using .. getting people used to the tools before my new o/S came out

and the way to get people taking a look at the new tools is to tell everyone how fast and easy it is to code with them ....

Gotta love google :) it says so in the EULA ;)

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