Wolfram|Alpha: An online platform every PR pro should know about

It’s called a ‘computational search engine.’ Whatever that means. Here’s a description in plain English—including an explanation of how it can serve you (and, better yet, your clients).

The Internet is lauded for making communication a breeze.

It’s a well-deserved accolade.

However, we mustn’t forget that one of the best uses of the Web is research. It helps communicators set benchmarks, and measure progress, sentiment, and, ultimately, outcomes of communication campaigns.

You’re familiar with the pages of search results on Google or Bing that send you to different websites. But you are probably less familiar with Wolfram|Alpha, which is billed as the “computational knowledge engine.”

Yeah, that’s a mouthful. Allow me to explain what it is in simpler terms—and why you should consider using it.

Instead of functioning like a search engine—that is, producing a bunch of links to different Web resources—Wolfram|Alpha provides answers to questions in a report-style format.

Try typing in Google. Here’s a screenshot of what the results page looks like—half the page, really:

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