What's the Latest Development?

The Semantic Web, also known as the Web 3.0, is set to come of age this week when a powerful data crunching service becomes available to the public. Wolfram Alpha has been online since 2009 but has had trouble gaining traction in circles beyond statisticians and math fanatics. That may change on Wednesday when its data processing algorithms become available to anyone looking for a more numerical representation of information. The new service is premised on the idea that people prefer reports over answers.

What's the Big Idea?

Rather than link to relevant Web pages like Google or narrative answers like Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha puts information into data sets, performing its own computations before giving you analysis in the form of a report. Users can input raw data, advanced mathematical symbols and even images which will contribute to an exportable digital analysis. The new service may be most useful to small business owners who have plenty of data but are not sure how to make useful. The service works to democratize statistical analysis.

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