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If Google Played Jeopardy: Smartest Search Engine, But It's No Ken Jennings

Google: Go to the head of the class. Wikipedia: You stay after school for extra tutoring.

That seems to be one of the conclusions you can draw from a fun blog post today by Wolfram|Alpha founder Stephen Wolfram.

Writing about the Jeopardy battle between past champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter and IBM’s Watson computer (the computer won a dry run earlier this month), Wolfram decided to see how several search engines would fare when asked to answer Jeopardy clues.

The results? Google scored highest in both having the answer show up anywhere on the first page of search results and having it show up in the first result on page one.


Ask.com was a close second in getting the correct answer anywhere on page one, while Bing was a close second in getting the correct answer in the first search result. Wikipedia’s search was last in both tests.

But Ken Jennings, Jeopardy‘s all-time champion in wins and earnings, answered about 79% of his questions correctly — a lot more than any search engine. Which suggests two things: Either he’s an immediate acquisition candidate in Mountain View and Redmond, or he should just start his own search engine and answer queries as they come in.

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