Siri Accounts for 25% Of Wolfram Alpha Queries

Following last night’s announcement of Wolfram Alpha Pro, coming tomorrow at $4.99 per month, The New York Times’ Steve Lohr reported in his piece about Siri’s integration with the service. Apple’s voice-based assistant accounts for 25% of all Wolfram Alpha searches four months after the launch of the iPhone 4S, which embeds Wolfram-powered results directly into the Siri interface.

The subjects in the Wolfram Alpha database are now more useful to the average person. Type in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy showtimes,” and Wolfram Alpha delivers the schedule for local theaters. The movie times, Dr. Wolfram notes, come not from scouring the Web, but from a specialized information service.

Siri accounts for about a quarter of the queries fielded by Wolfram Alpha, whose staff has grown to 200. Several large companies in health care, financial services and oil and gas recently hired Dr. Wolfram’s private company, Wolfram Research, to do tailored corporate versions of Wolfram Alpha for them. Microsoft also licenses Wolfram Alpha technology.

With 37 million iPhones sold in the last quarter and the iPhone 4S being the most popular model among them, I assume a good percentage of new 4S owners are using Siri regularly to file requests through Wolfram’s knowledge engine. The question is, how regularly? Whilst some have already dismissed Siri as a “passing fad”, I’m hearing of people using it on a daily basis for things like quick reminders, alarms, and data lookups (queries like “how many people live in France?” are perfect for Wolfram Alpha). Saying Siri is not a fad because we heard our friends are using it is just as tricky as claiming the opposite, so it’s nice to finally have some actual insight (in the form of user adoption) by Wolfram.

Apple says that support for more languages will come in 2012 to Siri, and it will be interesting to see whether Wolfram will be supported internationally by then.