Wolfram Alpha went public today, and there is a lot to like about it. For example, Caterina Fake, the co-founder of Flickr and Hunch, wanted to see if W-A could calculate her body mass index, and so she typed in BMI 5’2”, 115lb (her weight and height). Following her lead, I did the same thing for her BMI, and W-A returned a body mass index of 21.
So I thought I would ask W-A a similarly profound and useful question. I wanted to know if Microsoft’s so-called Office Open XML specification was a true standard or a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I typed “OOXML is a fraud” into Wolfram Alpha. It returned, “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
Now compare that to Google. I typed “OOXML is a fraud” into Google. Google returned 19k results. http://is.gd/Av2
Those of us who follow the OOXML versus ODF standard battle know that OOXML is, in fact, a faux standard, because OOXML is not implemented anywhere. Not even Microsoft Office implements OOXML. And Google certainly knows that. It looks as if, in its first day of public life, Wolfram Alpha is still a wee bit naiive and has a lot to learn.
But it’s great for calculating your body mass index!