Wolfram|Alpha launched earlier this year to a large and ridiculous speculation that it was a “Google killer”. Wolfram|Alpha is not a Google killer; it can’t do many of the things Google can do. On the other hand, it can do many things Google can’t, from provide specific date weather information, to answering algebra questions, to telling me the calories and Vitamin A in my morning smoothie. (To get an idea of what W|A can do, visit the site and search for september 19 2003 denver co.) Having Wolfram|Alpha’s capabilities teamed up with Bing’s Web searchiness sounds like a great idea to me.
So how do these two engines fit together? I found that Wolfram|Alpha was in evidence when I entered appropriate queries. For example, if I do a search for 2y + 3 = 11, I’ll get a “Calculation” result at the top of the page. (Though I’m not 100% certain that this is Wolfram|Alphra at work as it does not have a Wolfram|Alpha designation on it.) The Bing announcement blog also shows how to get information on BMI, nutrition, and complex math functions.
This isn’t going to take the place of using Wolfram|Alpha directly, I don’t think — there are too many ambiguous queries that can give me great results on W|A that might confuse Bing (see september 19 2003 denver co as an example.) On the other hand, what a smart move by Bing: this goes a step beyond the “reference” that you might get ala Wikipedia and into calculation. And it gets Wolfram|Alpha out in front of more people, which it deserves; it’s a nifty fact engine.