I think Wolfram Alpha sucks. It could be very useful if I spent lots of time fiddling around and learning how it works. But why would I do that when I can pour the drivel directly from my brain into Google’s search engine and it will give me what I want 90% of the time?
The defense of Wolfram Alpha is that it is good with data. Okay. But so is Google. Perhaps I will ask Google to quantify how much Wolfram Alpha sucks.
So I googled, “Wolfram Alpha sucks”. 651,000 hits. Good, good. I would like to hit Wolfram Alpha about that many times.
But wait. I googled, “Wolfram Alpha rocks”. 1,141,000 hits. Now, this isn’t a perfect science, obviously, but in this informal poll of Google, Wolfram Alpha is doing pretty well.
It can’t be so.
I try again. Perhaps ‘sucks’ and ‘rocks’ aren’t very good antonyms. I try, “Wolfram Alpha terrible”, 496,000 hits. “Wolfram Alpha awesome”, 825,000 hits. Now maybe the sort of person who is inclined to write an internet piece about this site is the sort of person who is predisposed to like data and just eats up the Wolfram Alpha gig. Or maybe Wolfram Alpha is actually pretty good, and I am wrong.
But, a redeeming final thought: If I enter any of those search terms into Wolfram Alpha, you know what happens?
It says, “Wolfram Alpha isn’t sure what to do with your input.”
Great quantitative analysis of your own self-worth, Wolfram Alpha.