There are all kinds of different ways to use Wolfram Alpha, and it’s often a better idea to load up the computational knowledge engine rather than your search portal of choice. Here are 16 of the most useful queries that Wolfram Alpha can handle but leave Google stumped.
1. Work out probabilities
Enter “24 coin tosses” to see a detailed breakdown of the resulting probabilities. It works with cards too: Try “probability 3 queens 2 jacks”.
2. Get Scrabble scores for words
Wolfram Alpha is a Scrabblers best friend: Put “scrabble” in front of any word (e.g. “scrabble zookeeper”) to find out the resulting score in the board game.
3. Look up nutritional information
You can get nutritional information about all kinds of foods and meals right from Wolfram Alpha. Give “subway turkey breast sub” a go, for example.
4. See utility prices over time
Wolfram Alpha can tap into historical prices for various utilities as well—input “price of electricity in san francisco” and adapt accordingly.
5. Apply image filters
Not only can Wolfram Alpha show images, it can apply filters to them: “gaussian blur monkey image” for example. Click here for the full list.
6. Compare websites
Want to know how Facebook’s traffic compares with Google’s? Or their respective rankings? Submitting “facebook.com vs google.com” will tell you.
7. List anagrams
You can get anagrams for any single word you like as well—just enter “anagrams” followed by the word you want mixed up to see a list.
8. Make sense of your family tree
Family trees can be real head-scratchers but Wolfram Alpha is here to help. Input a query like “father’s cousin’s grandchildren” to see your link to them.
9. Work out monetary values down the years
Want to know what the equivalent of $2 million was in 1950? Or vice versa? Enter a query like “US$2500 in 1950” and Wolfram Alpha is able to tell you.
10. Find out how common your conditions are
Wolfram Alpha is also very adept at providing information about illnesses and conditions. Try “insomnia” to see all of the data that’s presented.
11. Track the International Space Station
Ask Wolfram Alpha “where is the iss?” and you’ll get a map showing you its current location. Google tries its best with this, but still comes up short.
12. Check which planets are visible
If you ask Wolfram Alpha to tell you “which planets are visible today?”, you’ll get a much more detailed answer in return than Google can provide.
13. Find out how drunk you are
Wolfram Alpha provides an honest answer to the question “how drunk am I?” but you’ll have to enter more information first (including drinks versus time).
14. Get sports score histories
Sports results are another speciality of Wolfram Alpha’s, at least as far as major sports in the US are concerned. Try “new york giants away wins 2012”.
15. See how common your name is
Type in any name—”david” for example—to see statistics about it. Enter several names separated by commas to compare names against each other.
16. Analyze works of literature
Wolfram Alpha can also do some impressive tricks with literary works: try entering “most frequent two-word phrases in the bible” for example.