Wolfram Alpha has been released, and I’ve tried it.
The first thing I tried with math. It could parse math in popular ASCII representations, words and unicode but couldn’t interpret TeX formatted math. It plotted simpler math functions but not more complex ones (eg. “plot (3^(2/3)-x^(2/3) – y^(2/3))^(3/2)”).
It also didn’t recognize common formulas. I tried several of Maxwell’s equations in both integral and differential form and it didn’t parse or understand either of them.
It parsed simple chemical names and formulas but both “2,3-dimethyl,pentane” and “CH3CH(CH3)CH(CH3)CH2CH3” were beyond it.
In conclusion, it was interesting but has a long way to go.
Some other thoughts:
Alpha strongly advertises Mathematica.
Competition is good for Google, IMHO, even if they’re not in direct competition.