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Stephen Wolfram Reveals Radical New Formula for Web Search | Epicenter

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Consider a question like “How many Nobel Prize winners were born under a full moon?” Google would find the answer only if someone had previously gone through the whole list, matched the birthplace of each laureate with a table of lunar phases, and posted the results. Wolfram says his engine would have no problem doing this on the fly. “Alpha makes it easy for the typical person to answer anything quantitatively,” he asserts. Wolfram needs some prodding before he talks about the business model. “Plan A is to get this out,” he says. “Maybe it will be a giant piece of philanthropy.” On the other hand, he adds, “we’re happy to license this.” He thinks Alpha would be welcome inside applications, on mobile devices, and in a generalized search engine. Wolfram has already shown Alpha to former intern Brin and thinks that it could make sense to have the engine running behind the scenes in Google searches. Another possible source of revenue: licensing data­bases.