When I previously wrote about Wolfram Alpha, I had suggested that this kind of system could become more than just a competitor of Google (or other types of general search engines); it could be an excellent complement to meet specific and punctual needs. Therefore, I was not surprised when I heard the news that Microsoft had sealed a deal with Wolfram to integrate Bing and Wolfram Alpha for searches/questions belonging to a subcategory of topics for which Alpha has good coverage of.
The terms of the accord are still unknown, but I really believe it will be beneficial for both parties. After its initial launch, general interest in Wolfram Alpha greatly diminished (due also to the excessively high expectations which were created but could not be met…). An accord of this type could be just the thing to create a new buzz and new interest. Surely, it won’t help Bing make any improvements in quality, but for Microsoft, this agreement could help keep the hype about Bing and its ecosystem alive.