APP OF THE DAY: What Is? review (WP7)
With information now more readily available than ever before, the only barrier seems to be the speed at which we are able to access it. Typing in questions or keywords into a search engine and then clicking on the correct link, for some just isn't direct enough.
S this little answer engine from developer Andrew Fraser is designed to make finding the answer to something as quick and as simple as possible - and for the most part during our brief time playing with the app, appears to do this admirably.
What Is? is free to download and is a useful app that allows you to ask and receive answers to basic questions that otherwise might require a more time-consuming websearch. The interface, although a little tatty, allows you to either type or speak your question, and it seems that the speech engine is pretty accurate. During our play it only "misheard" us twice.
The app excels at questions involving capital cities, conversions, and distances and we found it to be both quick and generally accurate. We can see this being pretty handy for general knowledge disagreements down your local as well.
Although some of the answers need a bit of fine tuning the app is in its beta form, so hopefully it'll be able to bring even better results in the future and for free it's pretty darn useful. You can also replace the "what is" prefix and replace it with who, why and where - it deals with this equally well.
You can dispense with prefixes altogether and it seems to do the trick, but be careful as a complete question will sometimes bring up different answers. A good example is when we asked "why is the sky blue" and then just "sky blue"; the former brought up Rayleigh scattering, the latter a description of the Sky Blue album by Maria Schneider. The app is on the whole very impressive and definitely worth a look.