Wolfram|Alpha is an online service that answers factual queries directly by computing the answer from structured data, rather than providing a list of documents or web pages that might contain the answer as a search engine would. Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone.

Wolfram Alpha has launched a new feature that allows you to manipulate data interactively.

Starting today, as soon as you have the free CDF plugin installed (or if you have Mathematica 8 on your system) you can go to the top right-hand corner of the Wolfram|Alpha website, and set CDF on, with the result that Wolfram|Alpha will generate not just a static web page, but instead full CDF output—that you can directly interact and compute with.

There are some immediate consequences—like rotating 3D graphics, interactively reading off values in plots, and resizing graphics inline.