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Siri accounts for 1/4 of Wolfram Alpha queries as search engine goes 'Pro'

post #1 of 23
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About one quarter of the queries to the "computational knowledge engine" Wolfram Alpha now come from the Siri voice assistant found in Apple's iPhone 4S.

The additional use of Wolfram Alpha's technology because of Siri has caused the company's staff to grow to 200 people, according to The New York Times. Apple began using Wolfram Alpha when it launched Siri with the iPhone 4S last October.

Beyond its partnership with Apple, Wolfram Alpha is planning a major upgrade with a new version set to debut on Wednesday, called "Wolfram Alpha Pro." The new, premium version of the search engine will cost $4.99 per month, or $2.99 for students.

The new version of Wolfram Alpha will handle data and images, allowing users to take data and create a color-coded bar chart that can be downloaded in different document formats. In one example shown to reporters, creator Dr. Stephen Wolfram dragged a table of France's gross domestic product figures from 1961 to 2010 and the bar chart was generated automatically by the service.

In another example, a 3D image of a guitar was dragged into the software, and Wolfram Alpha returned with the number of polygons included in the image. However, the Times said the new service was "flummoxed" by a table of occupational income figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics because of periods and commas used to separate numbers in a table on its website.

In addition to Apple, Microsoft is also said to license technology from Wolfram Alpha, while Dr. Wolfram has a private company, Wolfram Research, that creates tailored corporate versions of the search engine.




In December, it was revealed that Wolfram Alpha searches had increased by 20 times following the launch of the iPhone 4S with Siri. Rather than build its own services, Apple partnered with Wolfram Alpha to deliver queries, and the service is covered by partnership fees rather than Google's ad-centric approach.

Last month, Wolfram Alpha launched an education portal that features an interactive textbook, dynamic teaching tools and lesson plans, offering teachers and students to find a "new way to integrate technology into learning." It was launched a day before Apple announced iBooks 2 with interactive textbooks for the iPad.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 23
I would love to see Wolfram Alpha go full on into the search space and kill Google.

AND I'd like to see Apple buy them and make Wolfram Alpha the default search.

I dream...
post #3 of 23
Wonder if it will ever graduate to Wolfram Beta?
post #4 of 23
That's a lot for 4 months on the market. If Siri accounts for 1/4 of their results when you consider Yelp! and other engines Apple has internally or partners with for Siri I wonder how much of a dent this is putting on Google. As more platforms add an intelligent personal assistant Google could find its ad revenue drop. Even if they add it to Android OS they still have to front the bill for all the tech and then will be limited to the ads they can place on the results. If they add too many it could turn off customer to their trojan horse OS.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

I would love to see Wolfram Alpha go full on into the search space and kill Google.

AND I'd like to see Apple buy them and make Wolfram Alpha the default search.

I dream...

It would be interesting WA went that route but I thought they had no interest in that type of search engine.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rtm135 View Post

Wonder if it will ever graduate to Wolfram Beta?

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #5 of 23
Or in other words, Apple is Wolfram Alpha's savior.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

I would love to see Wolfram Alpha go full on into the search space and kill Google.

AND I'd like to see Apple buy them and make Wolfram Alpha the default search.

I dream...

just curious...why do you want Google dead?
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

just curious...why do you want Google dead?

Perhaps for the same reason you want Apple dead, you like to see an underdog beat up the champion.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

That's a lot for 4 months on the market. If Siri accounts for 1/4 of their results when you consider Yelp! and other engines Apple has internally or partners with for Siri I wonder how much of a dent this is putting on Google. As more platforms add an intelligent personal assistant Google could find its ad revenue drop. Even if they add it to Android OS they still have to front the bill for all the tech and then will be limited to the ads they can place on the results. If they add too many it could turn off customer to their trojan horse OS.

iOS has to be denting Google's Web based earnings model big time surely. Not only because of search but massive use of Apps these days that have little or no connection to the traditional www. Just one example, I haven't used the web for weather info since getting an iPad, I use an amazing app.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post

Or in other words, Apple is Wolfram Alpha's savior.

I don't think Apple needs saving. I think this is just an excellent opportunity to stick it to Google. And maybe produce a better service over time.
post #10 of 23
Apparently, Wolfram Alpha has forgotten the debacle of the iPhone app price. They started at $50 for the app. "It's the same price as a calculator!", I can hear some marketing noob explain.

Of course, fast forward to now, and the app is now just $3.

It's the same thing with this service. What? Every college kid is going to give WA $40/year some day? or, just a small portion of college students? My guess is the latter.

Their product is so good, they could make more money on volume. Once again, this pricing will suppress sales.

Something's weird in the marketing department at Wolfram Alpha. I love the company, but they have the worst product/pricing strategy I've ever seen.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfromberkeley View Post

Apparently, Wolfram Alpha has forgotten the debacle of the iPhone app price. They started at $50 for the app. "It's the same price as a calculator!", I can hear some marketing noob explain.

Of course, fast forward to now, and the app is now just $3.

It's the same thing with this service. What? Every college kid is going to give WA $40/year some day? or, just a small portion of college students? My guess is the latter.

Their product is so good, they could make more money on volume. Once again, this pricing will suppress sales.

Something's weird in the marketing department at Wolfram Alpha. I love the company, but they have the worst product/pricing strategy I've ever seen.

My take is that that Stephen Wolfram, a brilliant scientist and long time Mac head never let marketing get in the way of the academic side of things so to speak ... hopefully this recent leap in his success will convince him to look at this in a new way if it hasn't already.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

About one quarter of the queries to the "computational knowledge engine" Wolfram Alpha now come from the Siri voice assistant found in Apple's iPhone 4S
........
In December, it was revealed that Wolfram Alpha searches had increased by 20 times following the launch of the iPhone 4S with Siri.
.....
[ View article on AppleInsider ]

I'm a bit confused by the mathematical aspect of this report. If the iPhone 4S made queries increase 20x, (2000% than of prior to the iPhone 4S right?), and now 1/4 of the total amount of queries come from Siri... ehm.. Is it just me or does it seem a bit contradictory?
post #13 of 23
Cue Google lawyers, initiate patent review. Patent attack in in 3...2...1...

This is the core of Google revenue we're talking here. They are not going sit idly by while Apple leverages Wolfram to bypass Google and impact millions of dollars in search-based revenues to go to some upstart Brit scientist with delusions of searchhood. *grin*

I'll bet Google lawyers are combing the patents to see where Wolfram can be claimed against even now...
If you are going to insist on being an ass, at least demonstrate the intelligence to be a smart one
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If you are going to insist on being an ass, at least demonstrate the intelligence to be a smart one
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post #14 of 23
Wolfam has an estimated $55M in annual revenue. For a company of less than 500 people.

I am sure Wolfram did not give Apple free use for Siri. Apple is either paying them for every new 4S that comes out, or by the number of queries. Maybe both.

Wolfram Alpha has been around for a couple of years, but it took Siri to really get it wide public notice. The interest generated from Siri will help drives sales of all their products. That is a lot of free advertising.

No, Wolfram is not selling Angry Birds, or some other mass volume - low margin product, but they are doing quite well.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post

Apple is either paying them for every new 4S that comes out, or by the number of queries. Maybe both.

I'd say only ever the latter. The former doesn't even make sense.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post

Or in other words, Apple is Wolfram Alpha's savior.

From a usage perspective, perhaps (although I doubt that given that Bing mines Wolfram alpha for some of its searches). But from a survival perspective, not an issue. Stephen Wolfram has enough money to keep this going for a long time. Wolfram Alpha was not an overnight project, and Wolfram is a brilliant man who nurtures his projects with infinite patience - he refers to them as his "life projects".

IMO, WA does more for Siri than the other way, although Siri has certainly accelerated the entry of WA into the vernacular of the common man.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'd say only ever the latter. The former doesn't even make sense.

It's conceivable that Wolfram is paying Apple instead (because I don't see Apple paying Yelp, and it would be possible but odd for Apple to pay one data supplier and not the other). I don't know for sure because Wolfram does charge other developers for access to their engine. One likely scenario is that there is no charge either way. Both parties benefit (as mentioned above, I think Siri benefits more but that's subjective). More importantly, Wolfram and Jobs were really good friends, with significant mutual admiration. Wolfram was working on Mathematica when Jobs was building NeXT. Jobs gave Mathematica its name and Wolfram was one of the most devoted users of a NeXT workstation. Elements was one of the first iPad apps (published by Touch Press, which is effectively a Wolfram spinoff), which happens to utilize Wolfram Alpha.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

just curious...why do you want Google dead?

Google 2012 = Microsoft 1990s

Google is trying to monopolize the Internet. They need to be broken up. I'm not a Facebook fan, but at least they are keeping Google+ a niche social network.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

Google 2012 = Microsoft 1990s

Google is trying to monopolize the Internet. They need to be broken up. I'm not a Facebook fan, but at least they are keeping Google+ a niche social network.

All you have done here is repeat 3 of the most common anti-Google refrains. You don't like Google and so it's fashionable to invoke the Microsoft analogy to draw support. In reality, Google is nothing like Microsoft in any era, no more than Microsoft was ever like IBM. Different products. Different business models. Different people. Most importantly, a different world.

As for breaking it up, some believe Apple should be broken up. AFAIAC, the rationale is just as good (or bad) to break up either company, unless someone can present truly rational arguments and just regurgitated internet punditry.
post #20 of 23
"pro"?!
That'll not kill Google, as wished by some..
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post #21 of 23
Google has nothing in common with Microsoft. They aren't trying to get you to buy anything. They are trying to monetize your attention. If you don't like them, use bing.

Facebook is a far less than benign company. They are trying to create their own proprietary version of the Internet where you can't do anything unless you are signed in under your real identity, and advertisers have unlimited access to all of your personal information such as your friend list, location, and demographics. Their private Internet is also tied into their own proprietary platform and did not adhere to open a web standards. Doesn't sound like a benign counterbalance to Google as far as I'm concerned.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Perhaps for the same reason you want Apple dead, you like to see an underdog beat up the champion.

Ummm I have never stated nor even implied that I want Apple dead at all.
post #23 of 23
Strange, haven't used Wolfram Alpha much.

Anyways, SIRI API please, if you think it's big now, that will blow the door off the industry.
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