When someone introduces a useless idea (or one that is narrow in scope) on the Internet, it gets linked, picked, praised, talked about till the transformation from a phenomena to sheer bullshit is complete.
I have heard enough things about Wolfram already, including the awesomeness of narrow, focused search and a smarter alternative to Google. Isn’t it what is being said about Kosmix and Deep Peep. What, you didn’t know that? Have you been living under a rock? Oh. Sorry.
The first thing you have to understand is, that for the general internet population, Wolfram is fucking useless. When you truly look up something that is going to change your life in this website, drop me a line. And when that counter hits five figures, I will remove this post.
I have a simple test, quite childish but it has an unusually high success rate. I call it the Bird Sex Test. I started it when I was in seventh or eighth grade, when I asked my biology teacher question from the very back of the class – How do birds have sex? Amidst the laughter in class, she was not amused and threatened to take action against me if I didn’t behave. One girl told me birds don’t have sex since they lay eggs. I heard she is now living in a forest with a parakeet as her husband and her small but vibrant community includes Kevin Costner living with a Wolf, Mel Gibson living with a dog, Robert Redford living with a horse and Kanye West living with what is assumed to be a gay fish.
See where I am going with this? No? Sorry. If you suspect someone of being a bore, prude or just getting to know someone, ask the question – How do birds have sex? Usually I find it worth my while to stick with people who either give me a factual scientific answer or the ones who give a crazy funny answer (e.g In the same awkward manner like me, except without the alcohol…oh…that gives an idea I need to go to the pet store tomorrow).
Wolfram Alpha, of course, failed the test.
While Google aced it. (That’s 3 76 0000 results for you!)
That’s why nothing can replace Google, somewhere some kid is searching for shit like this and no one can satisfy quite like Google.
The second test I have is the verb test. Xerox has it. Google has it. For instance, no one finds it creepy anymore if you tell them that you Googled them. It’s assumed whatever you put online will be read by people whom you really don’t want to. Tell someone that you Wolfram Alpha’d them – they will run to the nearest cop. Or ask you what kind of sexual position is that and will their vital organs be functional after?
Seriously, Wolfram Alpha is a stupid name for a website claiming to ‘compute the world’s knowledge’. Not to mention the ultimate testament to the fucking ego of the guy who started this. This makes me wonder, how the hell did this useless idea get such free press? Did he hire Jesus as his publicist? No. Oh, it must be Scott Boras then.
Okay I admit, Wolfram Alpha is about numbers. And the saying usually goes that numbers don’t lie. This is the mantra spitted out in all MBA schools. I should know, I took classes in one. The ugly fact is nothing actually lies more persuasively than numbers. The current financial crises should be enough to prove that statement.
Still not convinced? The Goons will convince you what an exercise in futility this Wolfram Alpha thing is.
Despite everything, this is still only the second worst thing to come out of Britain this year.
UPDATE: Microsoft has made a huge splash about Bing – their yet to be launched search engine. They are going for the verb thing but are somewhat behind because Urban Dictionary has already defined Bing for them. And the required plug-in, an NYT article ends with this priceless acronym for Bing – But It’s Not Google! Haha!