I cannot tell you how many emails I get from PR companies telling me that the next Google is here. Wolfram Alpha, a "fact engine" might be the closest search engine to meet that criteria and in my opinion, Wolfram Alpha does not compete with Google, but it will be a must use search engine.
I watched the full demo, live, last week and I was honestly blown away. It doesn't replace Google but it does fill a much desired need in the search business. Wolfram can answer your questions with hard cold facts. It is more than a Butler answering questions, it is a whole group of Harvard professors answering your questions with incredible detail and clarity.
Here is a quick demo of the screen shots of Wolfram Alpha:
Wolfram comes in and gives searchers something they have been missing. You can search for very specific things in the realm of science, math, geography, demographics, and so on and get not just the answer, but detailed information from real sources. There is really nothing like this out there at this scale.
A WebmasterWorld thread has some interesting comments from SEOs and webmasters on what Wolfram may have to offer:
Tedster: "I look forward to what this approach may offer. Wolfram brings fundamental genius on the level of Einstein and Hawking, rather than intelligence at the level of Page and Brin."
JS Harris: "Wolfram seems to be a different beast, not only is all the knowledge there but it's being analyzed and compared in some ingenious ways."
But most people in the thread are skeptical for good reason. But we need to think that a search engine does not have to compete with Google to be the next Google. It can fill a new need that has been unfilled in the past. I think Wolfram Alpha will fill that need.
I personally cannot wait to be able to test the new engine out sometime this month. It is currently not live, but they promised to make it live sometime in May.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.