The new world of search opened up by Wolfram Alpha is inspirational for anyone like me who is professionally concerned with SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and in particular with its TREX accelerator engine. Our engine crunches relational data with a sensational combination of speed and scalability but it needs a good frontend. This is where the new Polestar frontend from SAP BusinessObjects has changed the game.
Alpha is not so much a search engine as an answering machine. Its responses are much more intelligently tailored to your query than the raw lists that Google spits back at you. I can imagine a future where Alpha gives you access to mass data structured in a sufficiently digested form that you can pipe it through your data federator to your TREX engine for serious byte-crunching into data good enough to populate your dashboard or cockpit frontend. There are privacy and firewall issues to solve here, of course, but there is still plenty of public data that any given business can use to expedite its operations just as soon as it can model and format the data for its backend engines.
I tried a series of simple searches with Alpha and was deeply disappointed. The Wolfram team has a long journey ahead of them if they want to find a respected place in a search world dominated by Google.
Serious readers may skip the following Nigel James parody.
In the beginning was Tim Berners-Lee and he invented the world wide web and he saw the web and he said “It is good.”
On the second day Larry Page and Sergey Brin invented PageRank and they googled the world and said “Do No Evil.”
On the third day Hasso Plattner was blessed with The New Idea and said TREX is the “hottest piece of software in SAP.”
On the fourth day Stephen Wolfram came down the mountain with Wolfram Alpha and said “This is a long term project.”
On the fifth day Shai Agassi will fill the world with electric cars and save the planet and he will say “This is a Better Way.”
On the sixth day the Singularity will descend upon us and the immortal prophet Ray Kurzweil will say “Lo and Behold!”
On the seventh day the elect will be raptured up on golden parachutes into realms of glory.