Wolfram Alpha and Siri: The New Story of Big Wolf and a Red Riding Hood

British scientist Stephen Wolfram launched a new search engine Wolfram Alpha, which, he said, would be “as important as Google”. Judging by the posts in blog of the scientist, the method of how his search engine works fundamentally differs from the method of his competitors: it understands natural language (i.e., the human language). How Mr. Wolfram managed to achieve this, is not clear yet – experts are still testing the search engine. The scientist himself admits that Wolfram is far from being perfect, but it is of a high interest to have a look at his child. After all, it was Stephen Wolfram who created a famous computer system of algebra Mathematica.

Before we start singing praises for Wolfram|Alpha, we need to make a small note – this is not a search engine. This is a huge knowledge base, interaction within which is done with a huge amount of computational algorithms. In short, this is a service that runs on a “question/answer”. No references in Google style, no content, only useful information. For Siri – the most it.

The New York Times writes that every fourth request for Wolfram|Alpha comes from Siri servers. I mean all the other services of Wolfram including website form, versatile applications for iOS and Android, highly specialized programs etc. – provide only 75% of all requests.

Generally speaking, Apple knowingly made the Wolfram|Alpha base accessible through an assistant. Thus iPhone 4S users have access to 2 sources of information; each source is constantly updated without user intervention. Among the more or less recent innovations for Wolfram – information on flights and prices for goods:


The fact that such a “duet” is popular, speaks in favor of both companies, and in long-term against Google. Unfortunately, Wolfram will not give you all the info that can be found with a search engine. But the system is being improved, and its prospects are very broad. Who knows, maybe someday the need for a search engine will disappear.

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