Wolfram Research - the outfit behind Mathematica - have launched a new service that they call 'a computational knowledge engine'. WolframAlpha aims 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'.
Golly! Quite a mission statement and every bit as ambitious as that of a certain Mountain View-based search engine, i.e. 'to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful'.
According to their website: 'WolframAlpha is the first step in an ambitious, long-term project to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone. You enter your question or calculation, and WolframAlpha uses its built-in algorithms and growing collection of data to compute the answer.'
So what has this got to do with a challenge to Google? Well the 'new kind of knowledge-based computing' that WolframAlpha uses could be the next step to a semantic web search engine that might - just might - topple Google's supremacy in search in the way that Google's own pagerank algorithm blew everything else out of the water in the late 1990's.
At the very least it looks like it will be of huge interest to the STM publishers out there - especially those in mathematics, physics and engineering...