• Tue. Jun 14th, 2022

Wolfram Alpha Search Engine Review

Wolfram Alpha is another type of search engine, and if this is your first time visiting the website, you will spend a lot of time staring at the homepage. Is it a search engine? Is it a calculator? What is that?

It’s a bit of both. It is a search engine that calculates answers based on high-level algorithms and knowledge. This might sound like too much of a college course for you, but you’ll be surprised how useful it can be for everyday life – and you’re probably already using another device to search for the kind of information Wolfram Alpha excels at providing. . Let’s dive into it.

Topics

Wolfram Alpha breaks down its search categories into four categories (Image credit: Wolfram)

Characteristics

Wolfram Alpha’s research topics are divided into four categories – Mathematics, Science & Technology, Society & Culture, and Everyday Life – with subtopics below. By clicking on a subtopic, you will see several examples of related query searches.

The math is pretty simple – you enter what you need to calculate, and the results show you the final answer and the steps to get there. This makes Wolfram Alpha unbeatable for math students or anyone working in the field.

The Science and Technology section is similar. Inside that, however, are options that the everyday user may find useful. For example, you can convert grams to ounces when cooking, find out your clothing sizes in another country to help you when shopping, or figure out how much paint you need to buy to cover a room in your home.

The Society & Culture and Everyday Life categories will be the most useful for users. Think about what you might ask Alexa (or your voice assistant of choice) on a normal day – things like “What time is it in London?” or “What size turkey do I need for 15 people?” This is the kind of information Wolfram can help you with, as long as you know how to enter the search query. And there are several examples for each subtopic to help you determine what to look for and how to look for it.

Private life

Wolfram Alpha is not a private search engine, and what they collect and how they use your information is defined in their privacy policy. Essentially, Wolfram Alpha may collect a lot of information about you, and it may be disclosed to third parties, as well as used to add you to Wolfram’s mailing list (which you should be able to unsubscribe from).

The search engine also uses cookies, and while you can set your browser to block cookies, the company says this can negatively impact your search results.

User experience

You can’t type anything into Wolfram Alpha, like you can into Google, and expect to get results (or at least the right results). For example, searches such as “what are the healthiest foods,” “what’s on TV tonight,” and “paleo diet” all returned no search-related items. – when nothing was returned.

Instead, you need to know how to search Wolfram and what kind of information to look for to get anywhere. But there are so many examples that you’ll get used to them in no time, as long as you take the time to learn how to communicate with them.

search results

Wolfram Alpha search results display very differently than they would in other search engines (Image credit: Wolfram)

Here is an example of what the search results look like. This is in response to “the Oscar for best actress 1982”.

The most entertaining section of Wolfram Alpha is the Surprises category tucked under Everyday Life. Ask Wolfram Alpha to tell you a corny joke, give him a tongue twister to answer, make him recite a nursery rhyme, and more.

Platforms

Wolfram Alpha is accessible through a browser, and there are also mobile apps for Android, iPad and iPhone, Kindle Fire, and Windows phones and tablets.

There’s also Wolfram Alpha Pro, the upgraded, paid version of the basic search engine, but it’s unclear what you’re getting for the price. Two of the most important features are file uploads for data analysis and form-based interfaces called web applications.

Missing results

You will need to sign up for the Wolfram Alpha Pro package to take full advantage of this unique search engine (Image credit: Wolfram)

When you go to page dedicated to data analysis, the examples don’t seem to work. Maybe it’s because you’re not a Pro user, but the idea here is to see the functionality before you register.

apps

Wolfram Alpha’s sample web applications often turn out to be more useful than its search results (Image credit: Wolfram)

the web application examples are more useful. This is an example of the auto loan application.

The competition

There’s not much competition for Wolfram Alpha, other than the AI ​​your chosen virtual assistant uses — and even then, devices like Alexa often return irrelevant answers. Yes, Wolfram Alpha can also return irrelevant answers if you enter the search the wrong way, but with so many tips on the site, it’s easy to get around the problem. Plus, it’s nice to have the answers in front of you so you can see them and slowly skim through the details.

final verdict

Wolfram Alpha is a totally different kind of search engine, and while you can’t search everything and anything with it, what it does do is do it very well. Whether you’re trying to find a geometric solution for the classroom, get stats on a car you want to buy, remember who the president of a foreign country is, or find out the rating of a movie you want to watch family, Wolfram/Alpha can provide the answers, as well as more relevant information that you probably want to know.

Go back to the basics to learn what an algorithm is with our explainer. Read it here.