Just in...Mashable has a nice overview of what Wolfram/Alpha does vastly better than Google
There's been much talk of Stephen Wolfram's computational knowledge search engine Wolfram/Alpha lately, and now it's launched...so better take a look. Its modest goals:
Wolfram|Alpha's long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.
Wolfram|Alpha aims to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people—spanning all professions and education levels. Our goal is to accept completely free-form input, and to serve as a knowledge engine that generates powerful results and presents them with maximum clarity.
Wolfram|Alpha is an ambitious, long-term intellectual endeavor that we intend will deliver increasing capabilities over the years and decades to come. With a world-class team and participation from top outside experts in countless fields, our goal is to create something that will stand as a major milestone of 21st century intellectual achievement.
Conrad Wolfram, brother of Stephen and, said to the Daily Telegraph: “If you use a search engine, it’s a bit like a librarian who gives you a whole set of papers that you need to look through to get the answer. If you use Wolfram Alpha, it’s more like having your own personal analyst who takes the question you’ve got and tries to come back with a specific set of answers unique to your question.” Cocky fellow.
Google is cooking up some "computational search" of its own called "Google Squared," expected to be dished out later this month at www.google.com/squared. Here's a preview with some screenshots.