The new "Computational Knowledge Engine" called Wolfram|Alpha has gone through a full media cycle before it has even been unleashed on the world. It has been hyped as a "Google Killer" and denounced as snake oil, and we're still at least a few days from release.
The simple goal behind the engine is to connect searchers with precise information. Wolfram|Alpha's search magic comes through a combination of natural language processing and a giant pool of curated data.
If that doesn't make sense, all you need to know is that people can't wait to get their information hungry hands on it. A 10-minute preview posted by the Berkman Center on YouTube late last Wednesday has already garnered over 100,000 views.
Stephen Wolfram, the brains behind Mathematica and author of A New Kind of Science, launches his brand new knowledge engine this month. He spoke to David Weinberger this week about how the tool works, and what it might do to search.