Monday, June 8, 2009

Wishful Maths

It's been over a month that Stephen Wolfram's WolframAlpha has gone live; and I've been following the developments closely. It's greatness and awe-factor notwithstanding, I doubt I would have used it for anything else other than solving Maths. I did horribly bad in my CET Maths exams, and imagine how uber cool it would have been to have a tool that would solve something complex like integrate x^2 sin^3 x dx for me. :-P

For everything else, I believe dear ol' goog is better.

I mean, I tried to find the distance from Bangalore to Delhi, and it drew up a neat page with map and super-cool calculated values.

Only that, the values were far from reality. The results showed that it would take approximately 118 minutes by flight. A brief check on travel sites state that most flights take around 2 hours 40 mins from Bangalore to Delhi. That's not so bad, considering we probably don't have planes that fly at 550 mph. The driving time is given as 19.7 hours, which leads us to the fact that not all things in life can be equated using Maths. :-)

And as to the eternal question, I was mildly surprised that W|A did actually have a satisfactory answer.


Arjun said...

The utility of the WA is very niche and definitely not competition to Google or any other search engine out there. It'll be interesting to see how they evolve the positioning of the product and most of all how they monetize it.

Rithish said...

@Arjun: Ads have started showing up on the product. The "Featured Sponsors" on the right panel are displayed for valid result pages. :-)