Update 5/11/09: The New York Times reports on WolframAlpha here and quotes several experts in the field who believe that Wolfram has done an amazing job on his project which will be launched this week.
Wolfram makes no claim that his system is a 'Google-killer." Nevertheless, he is is in discussions with all the "regular players."
I think this is a realistic review and assessment of WolframAlpha. As the media, even the technical media, is wont to do, they hyped the words 'Google-killer." In this review, Frederic Lardinois, describes clearly what WA is and is not. I recently watched the video of Wolfram's demonstration of this new system at Harvard's Berkman Center. In it Wolfram never claimed more for WA than what is delivered. Given his success in the academic field with Mathematica, he'll have a following with this search tool.
"Let's get this out of the way quickly: Wolfram Alpha is not (yet?) geared towards mainstream Internet users, who, for the most part, are still better served by Google. Of course, comparing Alpha to Google isn't even fair, but most users will treat it like Google, and will most likely come away sorely disappointed. Instead, Alpha, for now, is going to be a great tool for students, engineers, and academics - and anybody who needs data quickly and knows how to interpret it. It takes some time to learn how to best use Alpha, and it still has its rough patches, but, overall, we have come away quite impressed, though, at times we were also frustrated..."I will be anxious to kick the tires when it's released on May 18.