August 9, 2016
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As far as web search tools go, few have generated as much hype as Wolfram Alpha. The service, which bills itself as a "computational knowledge engine," differs from search engines such as Google, in that it does not return lists of web pages. Rather, Wolfram Alpha attempts to calculate answers to user queries. For example, a query of "los angeles county median household income" will return the result "$43,518."
If there’s a new dawn in the age of search, Datafiniti is the sun. They are the first to take a new and profound approach to search in years. Most search engines return a list of links to web pages, but Datafiniti has much bigger plans. Instead of links, they return a set of data. A search for a burrito in Texas would give you a list of restaurants complete with goodies like reviews in addition to the important bits like name and address. The dataset itself has been out there for years, but its the aggregartion and presentation that’s different. With the Datafiniti API, it is now possible for developers to easily integrate that data into web applications.
Over the past year, French startup Algolia has pivoted its business model to focus on providing search as a service by offering an easy-to-integrate API product for use by websites and online businesses. ProgrammableWeb caught up with CEO and Co-Founder Nicolas Dessaigne at the recent API World conference to discuss the service’s new seed funding, and how an API-as-product business model builds trust with end-user developers.