Having used Mathematica for years, I might be biased, but I just saw the latest articles about Wolfram|Alpha and I wonder: does it have the potential to be the next Google killer, or not?
Frederic Lardinois says in Wolfram|Alpha: Our First Impressions that it isn’t going to be a Google killer, but I’m not convinced. A disruptive technology like that can displace easily an older technology.
Rudy Rucker’s article Wolfram|Alpha: Searching for Truth gives more insight.
Here’s an excerpt from Wolfram’s bio:
Born in London in 1959, Wolfram was educated at Eton, Oxford, and Caltech. He published his first scientific paper at the age of 15, and had received his PhD in theoretical physics from Caltech by the age of 20. Wolfram’s early scientific work was mainly in high-energy physics, quantum field theory, and cosmology, and included several now-classic results. Having started to use computers in 1973, Wolfram rapidly became a leader in the emerging field of scientific computing, and in 1979 he began the construction of SMP–the first modern computer algebra system–which he released commercially in 1981.
As a friend of mine put it: “To say that he is scary smart is a scary understatement .”