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Quarter of Wolfram Alpha brainteasers come from Siri

Apple's smart-arse software relies on boffinry website

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A quarter of traffic to the intelligent computational engine Wolfram Alpha comes from Siri, Stephen Wolfram said in a New York Times article.

The robot-loving physicist (who once said that all science needed to know could be found by studying the behaviour of cellular automata) launched the knowledgable super-brain in 2009.

Wolfram's threat to knock Google down a peg or two was mocked at the time, our Reg reviewer declaring the web service a tool primarily for boffins. However, the computation engine has been tweaked and is now a fundamental part of Siri, helping fanboys who whisper sweet nothings into their iPhone 4Ss get intelligent responses.

Wolfram Alpha is one of the few third-party apps that feeds answers into Apple's voice-controlled know-it-all Siri: Google Maps and Yelp! local search being the other two. Siri works by following commands from users and answering their questions.

The Wolfram-backed Apple service could be one of the biggest threats to Google's search engine: the web giant's supremo Eric Schmidt said as much himself.

Wolfram also gets traffic from Bing and is launching a paid-for premium service today, costing $4.99 a month. ®

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