Let's be honest, when we talk about searching the Web, we really mean using Google. In recent years it's become far and away the most popular search engine by any method of calculation - according to the stats I get from this blog, around 90% of visitors who have stumbled upon this site from an internet search have used Google to get here.

Yet could there finally be a challenger as the 'place to go' to get answers from the Web? Later this month the WolframAlpha service is set to be launched; this is not so much a search engine as a program that directly answers questions, instead of displaying a list of web pages that may contain the information you are looking for. This means that you will be able to type in questions in natural language and (hopefully!) receive accurate replies.

Not surprisingly, the promises made about the new service have got various bloggers and columnists rather excited. The more ICT-savvy types among you may want to read this article which goes into a little more detail; the rest of you would probably be advised to check the site regularly to find out when it goes live. Although of course if Wolfram Alpha really is as good as some are already claiming, then you'll surely be hearing about it again soon...


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