While some web sites are reporting that Wolfram Alpha had problems and was not online last night, I would beg to disagree, it took a little bit longer to get it online than they had planned, but it was working well. They started off with small load tests at first, and people were accessing the site through a backdoor they had intentionally(?) left open via an alternate URL which was shared mostly through the chat window next to the live video feed. After performing several load tests they put all of the main clusters online and the system went ‘live’.

Due to DNS caching, ISP Caching Proxies, local browser caches and other issues, some people had trouble getting the live search page and were still seeing the ‘Comming in May’ banner.  The best solution is to go to the tools or options in your browser and flush the cache.

Wolfram is not a search engine, as stated below it’s a Computational Knowledge Engine.  While you can type in simple search terms, you are more than likely to get statistical or informative data for those terms and then be able to use those values against other values that the system can search.

At times you’ll get notices that the site has exceed it’s test load.  Just hit the refresh button on your web browser.

It seems pretty cool overall, it provides a great amount of scientific and statistical information to everyday people without having to do extensive research or dig through a lot of web pages.   I think it will take time before a lot of people realize the full potential of what it is capable and learn how to properly create searches for it.  I also think that the human interface could be more friendly, and a bit more flexible at determining user input.   The site is online over here:  Wolfram Alpha if you would like to develop your own websites or applications with the Wolfram Alpha data, they offer an API in their developers section.