At a first glance, the website looks pretty much as it did when it first launched—with the straightforward input field. But inside that simple exterior an incredible amount has happened. Our development organization has been buzzing with activity all summer. In fact, it’s clear from the metrics that the intensity is steadily rising, with things being added at an ever-increasing rate.
Wolfram|Alpha was always planned to be a very long-term project, and paced accordingly. We pushed very hard to get it launched before the summer so that we could spend the “quiet time” of our first summer steadily enhancing it, before more people start using it more intently in the fall.
Two really great things have happened as a result of actually getting Wolfram|Alpha launched. The first is that we’ve discovered that there’s a huge community of people out there who want to help the mission of Wolfram|Alpha. And we’re steadily ramping up our mechanisms for those people to contribute to the project.
The second thing is that we’ve now got actual examples of what people want to do with Wolfram|Alpha—hundreds of millions of them. And it’s terrific to see that so many of them work so nicely. But for us now the most valuable thing is seeing what doesn’t work yet. Because that shows us what we need to add to Wolfram|Alpha.
There are several components. One is knowledge domains. Things people want that Wolfram|Alpha doesn’t yet know. The good news is that there’s been very little that’s come through that wasn’t already somewhere on our to-do lists. They’re long lists. But we can now be confident that they’re good lists.
A second big component is linguistics. Close to half the time that Wolfram|Alpha doesn’t give a result, it’s not because it doesn’t have the necessary knowledge, or can’t do the necessary computation. It’s because it doesn’t understand what’s being asked.
Continues @ http://blog.wolframalpha.com
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