However, there happens to be a very elite number of toolbars that do make it into my nice list, and the one we’re talking about today is one of them.
About The Toolbar
The friendly folks over at the incredible service known as WolframAlpha have produced both a toolbar for Firefox and an extension for Chrome, where the latter has less functionality. Either way, having a quick and easy way to get certain information from WolframAlpha is a valued item for those who need its information the most, such as math, nutrition, or geography students.
Installing the toolbar is easy, just like with any other extension. You can ignore the “experimental” label that is displayed along with the extension, as I’ve found it to be perfectly fine. After you restart Firefox, your new Wolfram toolbar will appear. If you wish, you can move this around so that it doesn’t take up a new row of space.
The toolbar isn’t made up of a whole lot. The Wolfram logo acts as a button to go straight to the Wolfram website. This page isn’t going to be of too much help, as its more of a page where Wolfram can sell its products, which it integrated into its freely available services.
The search box will search for information across a number of its websites, which you can choose from. The WolframAlpha option should be familiar, as it’s the service that brings up all the statistical information for math and many other subjects of interest. Entering anything in the search box with WolframAlpha chosen will be like entering something on the website directly.
You can also search through the Wolfram Demonstrations Project. This service lets you search for any number of demonstrations for fields that WolframAlpha is capable of computing with. There is nothing much you can do on the site itself, other than browse through the different demonstrations and download .CDF files. I’m sure there’s a program somewhere out there that knows what to do with those files…
You can also search through Wolfram MathWorld, which is a large collection of math resources, all of which appear to be fairly complex. However, for those who can make something out of all that information, it is definitely another handy resource to have.
The Wolfram Mathematic Documentation Center offers plenty of help for using Mathematica (the engine powering WolframAlpha) to its fullest extent. There are a handful of tutorials that you can search through, thanks to the toolbar.
Finally, there is also WolframScience, which lets you, as it sounds, look through all the science resources that it offers.
Note that choosing a site to search on within the search box sets the default, although clicking on any of the buttons on the right while something is entered in the search box will start a search on the site you clicked on.
WolframAlpha is possibly one of the most useful services out there, and I can’t deny that I use it quite a bit. Having this nice toolbar to search for a solution to my newest problem in a split second is a wonderful comfort. This toolbar is definitely worth having, and if you don’t have much experience with WolframAlpha yet, you should play around with it!