I've been so-so about the Wolfram|Alpha hype, but it finally launched and it's definitely neat. Comparing it to Google is semi-ridiculous as Google uses structured data and â€œfactsâ€ only as an afterthought.
The servers are taking a beating right now, but here are some queries that were interesting to me:
- Brad â€“ 1 in 3000 Americans may be Brads. Compare the names Brad and Aaron and you can see who the hip underdog from the streets is.
- 440 hz â€“ It gives interesting data on any frequency, plus you can play it (even oddball frequencies like 1337 hz). 440 hz is middle A, which is approximately 1.9 x the frequency of a honeybee's wings.
- PST â€“ It's annoyed me for a while that Google won't give me the current time in other time zones. Time in Hong Kong.
- death â€“ Approximately 104.6 people die per minute (1.744 per second).
- compare deaths and births
- compare lord of the rings box office to star wars box office
A lot of data I encountered is old-ish â€“ a lot is from 2004 -- which I think says more about the crappy state of authoritative structured data than Wolfram|Alpha itself.
I think the most exciting thing about Wolfram|Alpha is that it's intriguing and useful enough that it may encourage more organizations and individuals to make their current data available and keep it up to date. Which would be a huge benefit to everyone.