Wolfram Alpha “Handwrites” Answers For April Fools’ Day

Move over there just a little bit, Google. Even Wolfram Alpha, the computation knowledge engine (as it calls itself), is getting in on the April Fools' Day gags. For at least a day, the company has announced that it's now the "handwritten knowledge engine." Ask it any question, and Wolfram Alpha shows results that look like someone printed them by hand. Google did something similar a couple years ago when it used the Comic Sans font to display all of its search results. So far this year, nothing from Bing, Yahoo, Blekko or DuckDuckGo for April Fools' Day. Then again, it's stil [...]


Wolfram Alpha To Power Samsung’s Version Of Siri

wolfram Wolfram Alpha currently helps answer some questions via Apple's Voice Search, Siri. Now Wolfram Alpha announced they have partnered with Samsung to power some searches on some Samsung devices. The GALAXY S III and GALAXY Note will now include the Wolfram|Alpha knowledge base with S Voice and S Note applications. Users have to tap the home button and speaking button to activate it. If you ask a factual question, Wolfram Alpha should respond with the correct answer. "Whether you're asking questions through the pen or through your voice, Wolfram|Alpha will deliver high-quality, factu [...]


Wolfram|Alpha Puts 300 Hand-Drawn Query Icons On Its New Homepage

wolfram-alpha-home Here's something you don't see every day: hand-drawn artwork turned into search queries. Wolfram|Alpha has rolled out a new home page that features nearly 300 icons surrounding the traditional search box. The company says each icon is hand-drawn and represents an "interactive starting point" to help users understand better the types of data and answers that Wolfram|Alpha offers. Clicking any icon creates a pop-up that previews what the search term is, and then clicking again does the search itself. It's a pretty clever way to introduce new visitors to using Wolfram|Alpha -- cert [...]


Google Launches Knowledge Graph To Provide Answers, Not Just Links

apple-books-education-featured Hinted at for months, Google formally launched its "Knowledge Graph" today. The new technology is being used to provide popular facts about people, places and things alongside Google's traditional results. It also allows Google to move toward a new way of searching not for pages that match query terms but for "entities" or concepts that the words describe. Knowledge Graph? "Graph" is a technical term used to describe how a set of objects are connected. Google has used a "link graph" to model how pages link to each other, in order to help determine which are popular and relevant for part [...]


With Fix In Place, Wolfram Alpha Explains How Siri “Recommended” The Lumia By Mistake

wolfram-alpha-logo It wasn't Siri that was recommending the Lumia as the best smartphone to some last week; it was Wolfram Alpha. That won't happen again, now that Wolfram Alpha has made changes to to fix problems it had dealing with customer reviews. Reviews Weren't Weighted To Account For Number When I looked into the Siri-Lumia issue last week, I speculated that Wolfram Alpha wasn't doing any type of weighting of its results: The bottom line is that Wolfram has ratings from Best Buy, and it’s not trying to weight those in any particular fashion such as number of reviews or number of purchases. The Lu [...]


Apple Siri’s Recommending Nokia? Then Nokia’s Recommending Android & iPhone, I Guess

460xNxSiri-smartphone.jpg.pagespeed.ic.kzhj_c37Oz Apple's Siri search feature for the iPhone 4S thinks the Nokia Lumia 900 is the best phone ever? Actually, it's Wolfram Alpha that thinks this, based on all of four user reviews. While it's a chuckle that Siri seemed to be recommending the Nokia, it's a better reminder that Siri itself doesn't answer questions but provides answers from others. Indeed, that's why the Nokia Lumia itself arguably recommends the iPhone and Android. We've been here before, such last December, when Apple was accused of preventing Siri from finding abortion clinics. Actually, that was largely down to abortion clin [...]


Wolfram Alpha Gets Into Local Search — Very Badly

It's unlikely to impact Google or Yelp in any way but Wolfram Alpha is getting into local search. According to a blog post today users can now search online or on its mobile apps for nearby businesses in a range of categories (chains only right now): Wolfram|Alpha now knows the locations of some 2.4 million retail establishments for 1,300 major chains in 220 different categories—gas stations, restaurants, department stores, and much more. It also knows the typical business hours for roughly one third of those locations, which makes queries like that one possible. When I tried it online (PC [...]


WSJ Says Big Google Search Changes Coming? Reality Check Time!

reality-sign-featured The Wall Street Journal is out with a story saying that Google is about to make one of the biggest changes in its history of offering web search, providing more direct answers and gaining "semantic" smarts to understand more about what words mean. I'm scratching my head, since Google already does this. Methinks Google's PR has exploded in ways it didn't expect. Beyond Blue Links! From the story, we learn things such as: Over the next few months, Google's search engine will begin spitting out more than a list of blue Web links. It will also present more facts and direct answers to queries at [...]


Apple’s Siri Drives 25 Percent Of Wolfram|Alpha Queries

Screen shot 2012-02-08 at 7.54.39 AM Yesterday knowledge engine Wolfram|Alpha announced an intriguing new paid service Wolfram|Alpha Pro. Gary Price wrote an overview of the new service, which will likely appeal to academics, data geeks and a range of other specialized users. Wolfram|Alpha is by no means a mainstream search engine, yet it has managed to establish something of a beachhead and has a growing fan base. It owes some of that to Apple's Siri, which chose Wolfram|Alpha as one of two structured data providers that tie directly into the personal assistant. The other is Yelp. Wolfram|Alpha gets about 3.7 million dail [...]


Wolfram|Alpha Goes Pro With Powerful Data Analysis & Presentation Tools

WolframAlphaProFeatures1.jpg Wolfram|Alpha (W|A) is launching a new fee-based service named Wolfram|Alpha Pro. In today's highly competitive environment, you may wonder why W|A would ask people to pay for what many think should be free. Read on: you may decide to willingly open your wallet when you see what's available. Since Wolfram|Alpha launched in 2009, I’ve often wondered if the company would allow users to use their extremely powerful computing infrastructure to analyze their own data along with data sets available on the open web. Well, they have and that's what Wolfram|Alpha Pro is all about. As I wrote a [...]


Wolfram|Alpha Scores Again With Rich NFL Data

wolfram-alpha-football-featured I am a long time admirer of Wolfram|Alpha and I'm happy to report that my admiration continues to grow, as you can now access NFL (National Football League) statistics using Wolfram|Alpha. So, queries like: Tom Brady Joe Flacco Passing Yards 49ers 2011 New York Giants field goal attempts, field goals made Chicago Bears Record 1985 Ray Lewis Tackles Detroit Lions vs. Denver Broncos Passing Yards all return results that often include visual elements like a graph. Statistical data for every NFL team and every NFL player back to 1985 are available and the number of stati [...]


Wolfram Alpha Offers New Twist On Flight Search: Literal Answers To What Planes Are Overhead

wolfram-alpha-flight-featured You may not love this as much as I do, but that's okay. Wolfram Alpha has just launched what I'd have to put on any year-end list of the coolest search technologies of 2011: a tool that tells you, literally, what flights are in the sky above you. To access this literal, real-time flight search, just type "flights overhead" into the Wolfram Alpha search box, and voilá! If you're using a desktop computer, Wolfram Alpha does its best to figure out your location automatically and -- if there are flights in the sky above you -- lists the commercial flights in the area. You'll also see the plane [...]


Live Q&A With Stephen Wolfram Today

Wolfram Alpha is a fascinating "un" search engine that's a great alternative to Google for many types of queries. And creator/master curator Stephen Wolfram is a pretty interesting guy himself. It's been a year since the official launch of Wolfram Alpha, and Wolfram will be hosting a live Q&A session to talk about how the service have evolved over the past year. Tune in on Facebook or Wolfram|Alpha’s Livestream on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, at 10am PDT/12pm CDT/1pm EDT/6pm BST. Questions? Tweet to @Wolfram_Alpha and include the hashtag #WAChat. [...]


Visualize Your Own Information With Google Public Data Explorer

In April 2008, Google launched its Public Data Explorer, a fantastic tool that allows you to visually explore and analyze very large data sets. Since then, it has curated 27 datasets including more than 300 data metrics. The Public Data Explorer now enables people to visualize everything from labor productivity (OECD) to gender balance in parliaments (UNECE) to government debt levels (IMF) to municipality population density (Statistics Catalonia), with more data being added every week. Today, Google is opening up the Public Data Explorer for anyone to upload, share and visualize data sets. [...]


If Google Played Jeopardy: Smartest Search Engine, But It’s No Ken Jennings

Google: Go to the head of the class. Wikipedia: You stay after school for extra tutoring. That seems to be one of the conclusions you can draw from a fun blog post today by Wolfram|Alpha founder Stephen Wolfram. Writing about the Jeopardy battle between past champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter and IBM's Watson computer (the computer won a dry run earlier this month), Wolfram decided to see how several search engines would fare when asked to answer Jeopardy clues. The results? Google scored highest in both having the answer show up anywhere on the first page of search results and ha [...]


Wolfram Alpha Redesigns For 2011

Next time you visit Wolfram Alpha, you'll be greeted by a shiny, new, colorful home page -- that's just one of a few design tweaks the site has announced on its blog. There are also some interesting tweaks to the results pages. One is the addition of linked data inside the search results, which you can see on this screenshot. I did a search for "space needle," and in the data that Wolfram Alpha returns, the words "Seattle," "Washington," and "United States" are all links that run searches on each term. The data sets also now have dog-ear reveals that can be used to get access to [...]


Wolfram Alpha App Coming To Android

Wolfram Alpha announced a native Android app is on its way to the Google mobile operating system, Android. It is expected about a year after they introduced the Wolfram Alpha iPhone app. The launch date is October 6, 2010 and they are working with T-Mobile to launch the app. The app will be available for download on the T-Mobile Channel for download on the G2 and of course on the Android Market. It will work with devices running Android 1.6 and later. This time, Wolfram Alpha set the initial price to $1.99. Back when they first launched the iPhone version the price was $49.99, bu [...]


Wolfram|Alpha Query Widget Builder

Wolfram|Alpha, the fact engine has released a neat new feature today. Wolfram|Alpha is allowing anyone to build query driven widgets that can be embedded on any web page. The purpose is to enable publishers, bloggers, professors, teachers and so on to easily build quick widgets to add to their content and materials. You can build widgets based off of Wolfram|Alpha's large database of scientific information and data. Widget creation is all based off the initial query, which then can be made into a simple form that can be used by anyone. I'll explain this in more detail below. First, [...]


Wolfram Alpha Slashes iPhone App Price, Launches Mobile Site

The answer to that question is "yes." Wolfram Alpha says its iPhone app is now available for $1.99, a huge drop from the $49.99 price when the app debuted last fall. It's also offering refunds to users who paid the higher price. "Our number-one priority as of today is to get Wolfram|Alpha in the hands of everyone," says Wolfram Alpha's Managing Director Barak Berkowitz. That's a far cry from the company's attitude when it announced the iPhone app: "...looking at the other apps that are $50+, we think that we're of at least comparable in utility and functionality, if not more. And, pa [...]


Math Engines: For Multiplying Mixed Fractions, It’s Wolfram Alpha Over Google & Bing

Ah, math. It's why I became an English major. But now math is spinning back around and haunting me in the form of my fifth grader. Last night, I found myself dealing with how to multiply fractions as part of helping with his homework assignment. Um, yeah, I think I remember how. But to be certain, could search engines help as a double-check? Enter the awesomeness of Wolfram Alpha. Doing math through a search engine isn't new. One of Google's earliest parlor tricks was allowing people to enter math problems into its search box and get answers. Indeed, I use it for this more than my pocket ca [...]


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