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Siri now serves 25% of Wolfram Alpha's traffic, could it threaten Google?

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Siri now serves 25% of Wolfram Alpha's traffic, could it threaten Google?
The Apple effect is well known in Asian countries where massive amounts of workers and factories could get hired virtually overnight to fulfil an order, but now almost the same effect has hit Wolfram Alpha. The knowledge engine that offers not simply search results, but aims to put them into context, now has 25% of its traffic coming from Siri queries.

Apple’s humble intelligent voice assistants is smart partly exactly because of Wolfram Alpha that will do funky things like calculate the distance to the moon as well as solve and graph mathematical problems.

“Siri accounts for about a quarter of the queries fielded by Wolfram Alpha, whose staff has grown to 200,” a New York Times report said.

Should Google be worried? Even with the huge start of the iPhone 4S, it will still take quite a while for Google to feel threatened by Wolfram Alpha. In addition, the two don’t directly compete each other - Wolfram Alpha clearly differentiaties itself by being a “knowledge” engine, not a search engine.

But that doesn’t mean that the two don’t overlap at all - actually quite often they do. Wolfram Alpha has just launched a paid feature that will add even more sophisticated features and calculations to answer your queries. The knowledge engine only launched two and a half years ago in the summer of 2009, so it’s definitely moving fast.

Here’s scientist Stephen Wolfram, founder of the engine, explaining what was the thing that persuaded Jobs to integrate Wolfram Alpha with Siri:

“And just the day before Steve died came the announcement of the iPhone 4S, and Siri, which uses our Wolfram|Alpha knowledge engine. The timing was so tragic. But it was a quintessential Steve Jobs move. To realise that people just want direct access to knowledge on their phones, without all the extra steps that people would usually assume have to be there.”

source: NY Times via 9to5Mac

18 Comments
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posted on 07 Feb 2012, 09:52 3

1. McLTE (Posts: 686; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


I'm totally confused by this article.

How is this threatening Google given the fact that they don't overlap that much. Perhaps it would be the case if WolframAlpha was a search engine.. or their beak into the search engine space was imminent.. but there is no sign of that.

Also.. I can GUARENTEE that Google is not sitting back and letting Siri dominate the voice recognition (or whatever the hell it is) space.. they'll come out with something to compete very well with Siri and maintain their web search supremacy.

With the market share Android has over iOS.. I don't see Google being threatened at all. However, this is good for Apple.

posted on 07 Feb 2012, 18:37 2

12. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


I agree with everything you said until your final point. Google is threatened by Apple and should always feel that way. When companies no longer feel threatened, they stop innovating. Microsoft, Palm, and RIM are great examples of companies that rested on the fact that they were the kings of their markets...now they are either having to compete very late in the game or be obsorbed.

Apple, Google, and other companies should never stop feeling like it can all be taken away from them because history proves it can...

posted on 08 Feb 2012, 09:08

17. McLTE (Posts: 686; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


I agree with your comment..

I wrote that thinking that Google will continue to be aggressive and innovative as they have been.. not being complacent and feeling like they have this game all wrapped up.

I believe that as long as Google keeps on doing what they do, they will continue to dominate the search business, especially with their dominating market penetration of Mobile devices.

But, you are absolutely correct.. Google can't get complacent and bask in their glory! :)

posted on 07 Feb 2012, 10:00 4

2. abdane (Posts: 475; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


lmao, just wait for majel ;)

posted on 07 Feb 2012, 10:36 3

3. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6371; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


You guys @ PA must really live Siri. I dont see how Siri threatens GOOGLE. I say its a waste of time using Siri. Just do a Google search find your way. Siri makes people even lazier

posted on 07 Feb 2012, 10:40 4

4. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


What's funny is most people I know with the 4S say that they either never really use Siri or that it just doesn't work that great.

People have mostly the same response to Android's voice features as well though so it's no fault of Apple really. Personally I love the voice features on my phone and would definitely use Siri if I had it instead.

posted on 07 Feb 2012, 11:49 1

5. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3981; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Yeah I know what you mean. Siri can be fun, & accurate at times. BUT it also can be very bad at times also. This makes me very excited for Google's Majel. The Google X team has been working on it for about 3 years straight & from what I am hearing it's going to set the benchmark for voice interaction.

Majel will be here soon enough.

posted on 07 Feb 2012, 12:36 1

7. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


I am interested to see what they do with it. The only things I use my voice commands for is this:

"Send text to xxx... yyy"
"Set alarm for xxx"
"Navigate to xxx"
"Call [business name]"

I guess if I could ask it about calendar appointments and such I would do that too... I use my voice to text probably about 50% of the time that I am texting because from using personalized recognition since the D1 it does a great job of understanding my regular voice.

posted on 07 Feb 2012, 15:43 1

10. paulyyd (Posts: 326; Member since: 08 Jan 2011)


you two whine too much, no one caressss. k thanks

posted on 07 Feb 2012, 17:56 2

11. andro. (Posts: 1944; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


I agree most people try siri,find it fun for a short time then the novelty of the gimmick wares off for the majority of people except apple nuts,to them its proof that their iphone 4s is worth the upgrade and they will cling tightly to that thought pattern.

posted on 07 Feb 2012, 18:42 1

13. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


I have to disagree with you here. Voice recognition, no matter what company is building it, isn't a gimmick. As we multitask in more areas of our lives, we may not be able to always manually enter information into our phones or computers. There will come a point when most things will be voice activated to free us up to do other things. We've seen that with cars that you can pretty much speak a command and have it perform the action for you.

I know it's fun to hate Apple, but any wise company is going to do something like this. Apple has made it so that you can speak naturally to Siri, which is great. It definitely needs work, but it's a fantastic start. I hope Google gets into the game so that there is competition.

And with competition, we all win.

posted on 07 Feb 2012, 18:43

14. thephoneguy92 (Posts: 191; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


I don't remember the last time I used Siri for anything but getting directions while I'm driving, and even then I rarely do, seeing as the stock navigation is absolutely horrible

posted on 07 Feb 2012, 12:23 3

6. TKFox007 (Posts: 303; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


How much of that traffic is people looking for stupid stuff like "Where can I hide a body?" Or people just showing off or playing with Siri in the store and not actually using it?

You'd be surprised how many people just screw around with Siri in the store.

posted on 07 Feb 2012, 12:41 3

8. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


I always love how fandroids always come upp with.... my friend that s has the iphone 4s doesnt do .. this.. doesnt do that... they love my android phone... they converted into the Android cult... please... we dont need your second hand opinions about Apple... unless you owned one.. then you just dont know...

posted on 07 Feb 2012, 12:59 1

9. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


well i did own an iphone 4 and gave it to my brother as i wanted the s2 not because of android but because of the spec and speed but then when i started using it,i realise how android for me was perfect and great especially with the hardware of the s2..personally dont see myself going back to ios unless they allow things like drag and drop files,bt to any device,removable storage as these 3 things are important to me. when i got the iphone 4 i was happy until i hit these restrictions as my phone prior to it was a symbian phone which pretty much does what android does now but just not as slick...as for voice control i used it just to test it but never really felt it was necessary lol the only time i do use it now is when someone with the 4s tries to show off by using siri i just show them i have been able to do it all along...i tried siri but for me its a hit and miss lol probs dont like my accent and also in the uk the features are even more limited ie no navigation or location based searches and it uses a mans voice and everyone i know only uses it just to show people but never ever actually use it as believe it or not often its faster to just type sometimes especially when data is slow.have nothing against ios as its for people who like to have things simple but for some reason i hate apple the company.

posted on 08 Feb 2012, 08:34

16. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6371; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


Your opinions is the most hated

posted on 08 Feb 2012, 01:24

15. Tarkio (Posts: 30; Member since: 17 Jan 2012)


I'm just confused on which countries are "Chinese countries." This stupid author can't spell or use good grammar. Pathetic excuse for news here. Pathetic.

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 00:46

18. Martijn (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Mar 2012)


We have just launched the first voice assisted app using Wolfram Alpha on Android. Get it here:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.proxy.voiceanswer

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