Speaking of competitions, out on the Interweb the world of ‘search’ – and Google’s practical monopoly of it – looks set to be rocked by newcomer Bing (the “decision engine”) and underdog Wolfram Alpha (the “answer engine”). No one likes change and experimenting with Bing felt a bit awkward. But then so did Facebook when we were all still hanging out on MySpace. Now MySpace is like standing alone in an empty room. That’s not to imply that Google will become obsolete, but if Bing really is as good as it says it is, a bit of healthy competition may force Google to re-assess what people are looking for from search. They may find the solution in buying Wolfram Alpha – which answers factual queries directly by computing the answer from structured data – and incorporating its features into their main search.
Whatever the future of search may be, it still didn’t stop me Googling ‘Bing’ and ‘Wolfram Alpha’ when writing this!