Monday, May 17, 2010

A Match Made in Heaven - Google and Wolfram

I am almost in love.  Goofram is an easy to use toolbar extension that allows you to search Google and Wolfram Alpha simultaneously and see the results in a side-by-side split screen.

Using the search terms "Thailand" and "riots" Google gave me typical Google hits, sadly out of date with the most recent post dated April 13th.
Wolfram brought back typical Wolfram hits, very akin to the CIA World Fact Book or an almanac entry. If Goofram could also include (hint, hint) the advance features that have turned Google into the effective tool it is today (timeline, Wonder Wheel, News, Related Search) this would really be something because I could dig in to the country data to provide context as I explored the political situation.

However, the  power that gives me a frisson of excitement is the opportunity to compare side-by-side results as a vehicle to discuss different information tools for different information tasks. A political search didn't yield terribly useful results. Searching "Iceland" and "volcano" was a very different experience. Wolfram provided the world of data, giving context and relevance to Google results on the latest flight disruptions across Europe.

I'll be playing with this and looking for opportunities to include it in classes on web searches. Very nifty, indeed.

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