Your Views: Wolfram Alpha has the answer

Earlier this week, scientist Steve Wolfram announced plans to topple Google off its search engine throne by launching a new engine that, well, was much better.

In our midweek newsletter, we posed the question: "If you could ask Wolfram's engine any question, what would that be and why?" Your replies flooded in, so here's a selection of the best.

"How can I make a better search engine than Wolfram Alpha?" would be the first ask posed by Richard.

Elan was equally as excited by the chance to ask anything, opting for: "I would ask the new search engine the greatest question of all: Should the toilet seat be left up or down?

"After that I might even try the good old Meaning of Life' poser, too," he added. James and Stan were also both after an answer to the latter question, with Stan suggesting it would provide a lift during the current economic doom and gloom.

John has previously had the same question answered, but he's keen for a fresh perspective. "Many years ago I installed a piece of software in which the Help included some FAQs. Included in the FAQs was the question What is the meaning of life?' The answer given was We do not know, but hope to include the answer in a later version'" he said. "I would like to put the same question to Wolfram's engine."

Philip's question would be targeted directly at Wolfram Alpha's parent. "Why has it taken so long to come up with a viable alternative to Google?" he mused. His thoughts were echoed by Stefan who also wanted to know how to beat the current search leader "at their own game."

James had two questions, the first being: Where does space end? And, what is beyond it." His second was: "When will someone produce a chocolate covered malted milk cream sandwich biscuit?"

John and Neil were both thinking along the same lines, asking: "What do women want?" and "When will my wife ever do me something tasty for dinner?" respectively.

Claire was more specific in her request. "Can I find a supplier of lycra using his search engine, without getting up all kinds of sites which offer me an eye-opening education I don't necessarily want when I'm in a hurry to fulfil an order at 10am on a Tuesday morning?" she said.

"If he can answer this one, I'm a believer, and my aunt (who needs to source lycra, elastane etc for the manufacture of laces) will be too!"

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.