The great thing about the internet is that everyone gets a voice, an opinion! However, when you are looking for factual information fast the bad thing about the internet is that everyone gets a voice, an opinion.  This makes it difficult to weed through all the fluff to get to the information you need.  Enter Wolfram Alpha, the computational knowledge engine.

According to Wolfram Alpha’s website the company’s “goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.”  So what can you do with this search engine?  It makes it easy to search for all types of factual information, such as nutritional information, stock info, answers to math problems, possible anagrams for a word, the circulation of a magazine, and the list goes on and on. For a full list of what you can search on check out their examples page.

The other nice thing is that once you have conducted a search you can easily share the information via a “widget” you add to your OAKS class, website or blog! The wizard creation wizard was very easy to use, even for a novice.  From several articles I’ve read the Wolfram Alpha search results will be added to Bing and other search engines but you can use it now directly from the Wolfram Alpha site.  Remember, this is new and they are still adding information so occasionally you may encounter a search that states the “development of this topic is under investigation.”  That should happen less and less as they add more material so don’t give up on it if you receive this message.  I encourage you to try it out.

Thanks to the Read, Write, Web for running the initial story.