Wolfram|Alpha positions itself not as a search engine to rival Google but as an “answer engine”. You give it a question and it seeks out and processes data on the internet to give you an answer. The system is based on the computational platform Mathematica, written by British scientist Stephen Wolfram in 1988. It was announced in March 2009 and launched 15 May 2009.
You could use it to determine which of two websites is most popular, to reveal your computer’s IP address, the direct distance between two places, trace your genealogy, get a weather forecast, calorie count, convert units, show local time for anywhere on the planet and much more.
Use the phrase “facebook report” as a search term, however, and W|A will let you connect your Facebook account and pull out lots of interesting relationships and facts about how you use the social networking site. For instance, it will show your five oldest and five youngest friends on the site. Apparently, organic chemist and pastel artist Dan is my oldest friend on there at 81 years and student friend Nessa is the youngest at 21.
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