Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Firefox add-on puts Wolfram Alpha in your Google

If you've casually been using Wolfram Alpha, but don't want to give up your Google reliance, there's hope for you yet. A new Firefox extension lets you keep using Google, while showing Wolfram Alpha results on the side of the page.

I've been using it all morning and it's a nice addition if you're a search enthusiast. Your Google results come in just as quickly as they usually do, while the Wolfram ones catch-up on the side. This makes it a good way to test some of the limitations of the new search engine, as it only covers so many topics. My favorite use for it is to pull up nutritional information for fast food and cast lists for movies. Both are activities that usually require going off the results page to find the information I was looking for, whereas Wolfram simply grabs and displays it in an orderly fashion.

The only drawback I've run into with this extension is that it can clip off the bottom of the Wolfram Alpha results unless you've got Google set to show 20 or more search results per page. On some of the longer entries this this means you're not seeing potentially important information. On the plus side, there's a quick link to redo the search in Wolfram Alpha, in a different browser tab.

Note: This extension is experimental, which means you need to be registered with Mozilla's add-ons directory to install it in your browser.

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