Wolfram vs Google – comments re: cnet video

I saw a video today in cnet tv. It was a comparison of the up and coming engine Wolfram versus Google. I do'nt think they really can compare across all functions but they do something similar.

I don't think that these two different engines can be accurately compared but they do have some overlapping functions. Primarily finding answers, the difference comes in where the answers come from and what type of questions each engine understands.

Wolfram tries to give you a definitive concise answer while Google points you to the places where it thinks or knows where the most likely answer for your question lives. Take for example one of the questions from my list. What is a Necropolis? I entered the same search into both engines and I got these results:

Google's search results screenshot
Google's search results screenshot
A screenshot of Wolfram showing search results
A screenshot of Wolfram showing search results

Notice that Google points me to different locations that have the answer to my question, and provides a definition link at the top, while Wolfram actually answers the question. Wolfram is great for computational data, or answers that can be easily documented. I doubt that this is the Google killer.

I tried a few different searches, some of the ones they use as examples in the video, and some that I just thought about or would normally search for. Most of the answers Google gave me required a little more work on my part to actually find the precise information I was looking for but I had a chance to review the source, the legitimacy of the answer and compare it to other similar opinions and other websites. Wolfram decides what the answer is and shows you it, or some derivatives of the answer.

The thing that prompted me to write this post is that one of the presenters said this: Wolfram "answers" new questions. -- The presenter made such claim, and of course this is impossible today, there is no intelligent AI that can answer a new question, it has to go out and find the question somewhere and either cache it for later or pull it on demand when you ask. But you can't ask it a brand new question and expect it to answer it... you can't do that anywhere.