I’ve had a go at the Wolfram Alpha ‘knowledge engine’ preview.
Sadly, in my experience, it’s a bit disappointing: US-centric and effective only in specific, limited domains.
It gave no results for many of my queries, for example:
- ‘What is the population of Adelaide’ (capital of South Australia)
- ‘Tim Winton prizes’ (Australian writer)
- ‘where is Kapunda’ (town in South Australia — misinterpreted as an animal, kakunda)
- ‘where is Wandsworth, London’ (Wandsworth is a London borough — gives a ‘did you mean wadsworth’ response)
- ‘why is DAB radio delayed’ (and variations — ‘Wolfram|Alpha isn’t sure what to do with your input’)
Alpha is a great project with a lot of potential — to provide well presented, accurate answers to questions asked in natural language.
But they better be quick or the world — or Google — will move on.