WolframAlpha, a powerful new Web service that can answer a vast array of questions, has already answered one: No, it is not intended to dethrone Google. The site’s creator, scientist and entrepreneur Stephen Wolfram, is “not keen on the hype,” but others believe WolframAlpha could be a game-changer, the New York Times reports. “There is a huge space of possible questions that Google doesn’t answer,” one search company exec said.
Unlike traditional search engines, WolframAlpha does not search the Web, but rather uses complex algorithms to scan a database of information amassed by the company’s researchers. As such, it can produce the average body mass index of a 40-year-old male, but cannot produce movie times. The available answers will evolve over time as more data are organized. The site, wolframalpha.com, should be available to the public within a week.