Thursday, 4 June 2009

Wolfram Alpha v Google Squared - FIGHT!

There has been a lot of talk recently about how Google will be challenged by the Wolfram Alpha 'computational knowledge search engine' and the Wolfram Alpha aim of 'building on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.'

However, Google keep innovating and today's Google Labs reveal of Google Squared, shows how Google are continuing to evolve in the presentation of search results.

Google Squared logoGoogle Squared (Labs) logo

The Google announcement declares that 'Google Squared is a search tool that helps you quickly build a collection of facts from the Web for any topic you specify:

* Facts about your topic are organized as a table of items and attributes (we call them "Squares" for fun).
* Customize these Squares to see just the items and attributes you're interested in.
* See the websites that served as sources for the information in your Square.
* Save and share Squares with others.'

The Google Blog writes "While gathering facts from across the Internet is relatively easy (albeit tedious) for humans to do, it's far more difficult for computers to do automatically. Google Squared is a first step towards solving that challenge. It essentially searches the web to find the types of facts you might be interested in, extracts them and presents them in a meaningful way."

Starting to sound a bit like some of the Wolfram Alpha releases of recent weeks???

An example of a Google Square for 'roller coasters':

Google Squared roller coastersGoogle Square for 'roller coasters' (click for larger image)

At the same time, this is what you get if you query Wolfram Alpha for 'roller coasters':


Wolfram Alpha roller coastersWolfram Alpha search for 'roller coasters'

If you then take Wolfram Alpha's suggestion and query 'roller coaster' you get a random result for Helsinki, Finland:

Wolfram Alpha Roller CoasterWolfram Alpha result for 'roller coaster'

(*Whilst this looks bad for Wolfram Alpha, if you query something like a major city, the results from Wolfram Alpha vs Google Squared show Wolfram Alpha to be a lot more impressive.)

Google Squared is still developmental, but follows the recent release of another Google search visualisation, Wonder Wheel. Google Squared looks interesting though as it seems to be able to offer more stuctured results / sense from the masses of information that Google now indexes. Google Squared also shows that while we are seeing a plethora of new Search Engines (Bing, Wolfram Alpha etc), Google are not standing still!

See Daniel from Google talk more about Google Squared here:


So is Google Squared a round 2 KO for Wolfram Alpha or is this fight going to go the distance????

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