Thursday, August 27, 2009

Calling WolframAlpha what it really is

If you look at WolframAlpha's logo, it says "Computational Knowledge Engine." That's accurate, maybe, but it's jargonly, doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, and as a promotional aid? Fail Bigtime. Non-technical users will be scared off by such talk.

So I sent the WA team a note:

"Computational Knowledge Engine" is a mouthful and will scare off non-techie non-geek users. To you and me it sounds perfectly acceptable, but really it's not helping WA get users or press; it's off-putting. My suggestion is to build a moniker around the simple word "oracle." Techies will "get" the traditional technical meaning of that term, and non-geeks will at least get that WA isn't really a search engine.

Anxious to see what they say. I'd love to see the word "oracle" reenter the English language with its original meaning, before it was appropriated by Larry Ellison.


  1. You do realise that oracles were usually high, uttering ambiguous statements open to any interpretation? I can get that from Google :P

  2. Non-technical users who have decided that WA is of use to them aren't then going to do a full u-turn when they see the site's tagline

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