WYNC’s On The Media featured a segment this weekend on search engines. The segment discusses two savvy search engines, Wolfram Alpha and Cuil, but also is a good commentary on the current state of Search. Danny Sullivan from searchengineland.com was interviewed.
- Wolfram Alpha
Wolfram Alpha is a new search engine that functions more as an “answer machine” in that it specializes in finding statistical facts. Some sample searches that yielded seemingly correct answers:
Marshmallow AND Calories
Lake Superior AND Average Depth
Afghanistan AND Population
United States AND Trade Deficit
Ford AND 2008 AND Revenue
Distance AND Moon AND Earth
Interesting and fun, but I think the manner in which it displays the results is lacking. It is not exactly clear where the information came from so there’s no way to gauge the validity and reliability the information. The “Sources” link leads you to the formulas that calculated the results.
The article also discussed Cuil which indexes and crawls more pages than Google. Cuil’s results rely less on popularity of pages for search results and more on the presence of related words within the search page.
“Holy Grail 2.0.” On The Media. WNYC. May 15, 2009. http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2009/05/15/03