updated 12:50 pm EST, Tue February 7, 2012
Alpha tech built deep into Siri system
Siri now represents about a quarter of all the queries submitted to Wolfram Alpha, says the New York Times. The Siri technology is an integral feature of the iPhone 4S firmware, and aside from direct voice commands, allows asking plain-language questions about various facts and figures. A Wolfram Alpha widget primarily answers questions related to math and numerical facts, such as the distance to the moon.
The Times mentions that Wolfram Alpha staff now number about 200 The site first launched in May 2009, and was initially aimed purely at math and science, but can now handle more general requests such as movie showtimes. On Wednesday the company is launching a new version, Alpha Pro, capable of handling data and image input. Users might, for instance, drag in a table of GDP figures and receive color-coded bar charts, or a 3D image and receive a render with data such as polygon counts. It should cost $5 a month for normal users or $3 for students.
Siri should finally arrive on devices other than the iPhone 4S later this year. Its exclusivity may be related to noise cancellation technology missing in other iOS handhelds.