Thursday, June 04, 2009

Google Squared & Wolfram Alpha

Structuring the world's unstructured data... this is the future of search. These last few weeks have seen some impressive attempts to do just this by Wolfram Alpha and Google Squared.

Wolfram Alpha, which launched on May 18, is pulling results from their highly curated, massive database which is likely built atop massive (possibly unstructured) data sets. Google Squared, launched on May 12, is pulling results straight from the unstructured Web. These two approaches are complementary, but they are also competitive.

I'll provide just a couple of examples.

Below is Wolfram Alpha's answer to the query passing touchdowns Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos. Wolfram Alpha is providing a graph of data they probably acquired from a trusted source (they give some source information, but nothing specific).

The same query against Google Squared won't produce a very useful result. But a query for NFL teams results in a table of results pulled from a variety of websites. The data making up the first row is from, a travel website, Wikipedia. Why they are not just taking information from a single trusted site like is anyone's guess... it likely has to do with making their search algorithms more generic.

Give these search engines a try and let me know what you think.