Opinions vary though mostly all positive: futurlawyer has been reporting on it enthusiastically for the past few days, Greg Lambert, from LawGeekBlog gave an interesting review, focusing specifically on the relevancy to the legal industry. All in all, the social media arena is flooded with data streams heralding as well as questioning the deliverability of the product.
The question ‘what is a user after when searching the web’ is the 100 billion dollar question that whoever answers will ‘win’ the web. A tricky question with a hundreds of search tasks and scenarios are available, and there is no one single answer. Many people have already mention that a single answer based search cannot replace a wide search – i.e. Wolfram Alpha replacing Google – because the purposes of the two are so vastly different they actually complete each other. But will one overtake the other?
Indeed Wolfram Alpha’s key proposition is the ability to deliver very precise answers based on very precise questions. And still it seems, if Wolfram will deliver it’s promise to give the most precise answer to any question, that the next step is an amalgamation of specific as well as wide search.
But is it just a hype? Last year saw YahooGlue launched in India to try and cover all interpretations and results format in one page. Searching for Apple? You’d get links to the brand, the fruit, the symbol, you’d get articles, videos, photos, reviews. Though promising, one year after launch, looks like it didn’t take off.
Taking that into consideration, and seeing how we’re all so excited from a single answer search engine, one has to wonder if the general trend is for a single result search or a wide one to cover all references, opinions, etc? If so, what does it say on the culture of information consumption – does it mean we want one answer to a question, no time to read further research, check, get a wider view, supportive evidence?