Typical, you wait ages for the next big thing to come along and then three appear all at once. Well not quite all at once but in the past two or so weeks we’ve had three significant announcements in the tech/online/social media world, Wolfram Alpha, Microsoft’s Bing and Google’s Wave, all of which are proclaimed to be game-changers in their own special way.
…make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.
Where as Google’s aim is to:
Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
So it’s easy to see where the google killer tag came from though really it highlights the different approaches between the two companies. Wolfram Alpha is designed to answer complex search queries by returning a single result, while Google wants to know you so well that it can accurately make personal recommendations, such as where you should go on holiday. Which is also what Microsoft’s latest offering also wants to do.
Which is “cut through the clutter and make faster, more informed decisions when searching online” according to Steve Ballmer. Running cutting edge algorithms Bing claims to break search results into categories, pull out information hidden on sites, highlight instant answers and show related searches on the result page, which google does all of with the exception of the last one. It claims that it will excel in providing comparisons and also that the more you use it the better it will get at making the right recommendations for you. It seems to offer far more refinement options than Google and is aiming to become number two in the market, overtaking Yahoo and way more that its current slice with Live search.
So just as it faces two competitors in the evolution of search, google announces something that really might change the way we use our browsers to communicate
Beautifully timed to steal Microsoft’s thunder around Bing by being announced just hours after, Wave is being heralded as the future of email, facebook and a twitter killer all rolled into one mind blowing package. A Wave is sort of like a tweet, combining documents and conversation, editable in real time it will also support drag and drop from your desktop, allowing all forms of media to be shared in near-real time and all from your browser. Different waves can be created for different groups meaning that it has a real business application too.
Many people say that Google is your home page, it will now be your world page.
So which of these new shiny toys will live up their potential? Wolfram Alpha has potential with its specific offering, Bing has already been overshadowed by Google. Not actually being available when announced may also mean it slips out of people’s consciousness although it does mean that it avoided the fate of Cuil, which launched to a worldwide media fanfare and then promptly fell over when it couldn’t meet the demand, dooming itself from the off.
I feel that just as with buses, its the third one that comes along which is the one you want.