WolframAlpha has launched. No it's not an animal made on the Island of Dr. Moreau. It's a new search engine. Despite comparisons to Google it functions as a "computational knowledge engine" that answers questions. Google returns lists related to search queries.
A couple comparisons:
If you enter New York into WolframAlpha you get a list of encyclopedic facts
If you enter New York into Google you get a list of all information related to New York.
If you enter Huffington Post into WolframAlpha you get nothing.
If you enter it into Google you get pages of entries on the site.
The Associated Press's Brian Bergstein reviewed the service before it's launch on Friday:
Yet after testing the service for a few weeks, I think WolframAlpha is unlikely to become a household name -- and not just because of the gauze-in-the-mouth logjam of two "f" sounds in the title. While WolframAlpha is brilliant at times and elegant in its display, there aren't many ways everyday Web users would benefit from using it over other resources.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that I'm troubled by the potential for WolframAlpha. I fear the implications of an information butler that is considered so smart and so widely applicable that people turn to it without question, by default, whenever they want to know something.