Herding Code 49: Search with Bing and Wolfram Alpha

Have you binged, bunged or banged using Microsoft’s Bing? Any idea the type of questions you should feed Wolfram|Alpha? This week on Herding Code, the guys talk about “new search things that have happened upon the Intertubes.” Are you planning to catch the Google Wave? Hear the cast’s thoughts on Google Wave and much more in this week’s Lightning Round.

  • Jon digs into the Bing’s core feature list and shares that he is generally impressed with the specialty searches around travel, health, traffic, images, shopping and maps.
  • When it comes to search, the guys ask if Microsoft can really complete with Google. And does it really matter?
  • Scott K talks about Microsoft rebranding and questions what Microsoft is doing with its web properties? He compares Microsoft to Google which does everything web-based. Kevin chimes in and state that he doesn’t use a single Microsoft online property and Microsoft just doesn’t have a good story for this space.
  • The guys discuss usability features in Bing – specifically image and video search, search history and preferences.
  • K Scott brings up Bing’s nice use of Silverlight and speak to tweets stating Bing is Microsoft’s way of tricking you into installing the Silverlight plugin.
  • Jon and Scott K talk about conspiracy theories.
  • Jon kicks off a conversation about Wolfram|Alpha and shares how you can ask just about anything and you will even get an answer if you know exactly how to phrase the question.
  • Kevin states that calling Wolfram|Alpha a search engine is a misnomer. Really, it’s a computational knowledge engine made for academics by academics.
  • Scott K calls out that anything claiming to be related to search must live up to Google. After all, you google information. You don’t altavista.
  • K Scott compares Wolfram|Alpha to a restaurant where the food’s not great but the atmosphere is pretty funky.
  • Jon and Scott K discuss search aggregators, explorer federated search and Kevin compares Wolfram|Alpha to Stack Overflow.
  • K Scott comments on search in general and how competition is a good thing. K Scott is not completely comfortable with Google dominating the market share. It’s the same uncomfortable feeling he had when Microsoft dominated the browser wars and look how that turned out. Take note!

Compliments of K Scott, another Lightning Round Strikes!

Show Links:

Scott K’s Wolfram queries:
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
Do these pants make me look fat?

Jon’s Wolfram queries:
GDP of Moldovia divided by Ernest Goes to Camp box office?
Escape velocity of Saturn divided by top speed of a cheetah?
Population of Vatican City divided by the square root of the number of hours in a leap year?
How to cook a Welshman?

K Scot’s Wolfram queries:
How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Jon Udell’s Wolfram query:
(H1N1 Mexico Deaths / Mexico Cases) / (H1N1 US Deaths / US Cases)

Download / Listen:

Herding Code 49: Search with Bing and Wolfram Alpha


Show notes compiled by Ben Griswold. Thanks!