You Speak, We’re Listening

May 21, 2009
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The Wolfram|Alpha Team
Posted by

The feedback has been pouring in since we launched Wolfram|Alpha into the world. As promised, we’re reading all of your comments and we’re responding.

Here are a few of the quick fixes we’ve implemented already:

We’ll keep making updates. In the meantime, keep the suggestions coming. It’s your feedback that will help us make Wolfram|Alpha stronger for everyone.

49 Comments

This is what (hopefully) make Wolfram Alpha even more exciting: giving ideas and suggestions to a company is one thing. But actually seeing them getting implemented and update you about it (very important step I think); amazing! Hopefully this blog will continue to evolve, not a first 2-month hype followed by complete silence from behind-the-scene activities.

Posted by sander huisman May 21, 2009 at 5:29 pm

database values need upgrading to reflect more current data? knowing the housing prices in New York for the year 2000 may not be as useful as current housing prices or even a timeline of housing prices… keep up the great work!

Posted by jasonspalace May 21, 2009 at 5:34 pm

cool… moon distance changes :)

Posted by elie tannous May 21, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Will this eventually mean, house pricing for all parts of the globe? I’d think that would be a major break through if that is in development.

Posted by Archaen May 21, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I think a downloadable app from the iTunes Application Store would be a great addition. Also possibly adding some links in the output rather than having to copy and paste.

Posted by Nick H May 21, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Can you already tell me when there will appear the German version of Wolfram|Alpha?

Posted by Gerhard May 21, 2009 at 5:49 pm

This project is interesting, I wonder how it will end up.

I like the output when you type the name of a famous person, it would be nice to get more information on the person we are searching. An example, if you type Raphael Nadal, except for his date of birth, we don’t get much more, same goes with Albert Einstein.

Keep the good job!

Posted by Pablo May 21, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Great work guys – Wolfram Alpha is getting better all the time but I wonder if you are going to have scaling issues? I have seen thousands of suggestions for improvements and yet only four fixes have been reported.

How are you going to keep on top of the thousands of comments, suggestions and corrections?

PS I note that you fixed the period in tan(x). Thanks for that :)

Posted by Michael Croucher May 21, 2009 at 6:09 pm

I think it’s great that you guys are listening and responding. You are unlike the other companies who say they listen but never respond. Keep up the great work!

Posted by Cory May 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm

The speed of activities such as walking seems to be bugged also, told me that I would walk at 400m / min and burn 800 calories

Posted by Andrew May 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm

1. Time Zones: Nashville and Memphis is in Central, not Eastern Time.

2. There is 1024MB in 1GB, 1024KB in 1MB, etc. You are using the rounded off marketing value of 1000 in your calculations.

3. “Date Janis Joplin died” = pass, “Date Jimi Hendrix died” = pass, “Date Janis Joplin died to 1/1/09″ = pass, “Date Janis Joplin died to Date Jimi Hendrix died” = fail

Posted by Doug Brown May 21, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    For #2, use GiB, MiB, and KiB if you want to use the power-of-two system.

    Posted by Ben May 22, 2009 at 11:26 am

A translator for chat languages would be great :)

Posted by freddie May 21, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Thanks!

You guys should post a comment once you have started working on a specific user posted issue on the Community Page. Please look at this one specifically: http://community.wolframalpha.com/story.php?title=embedded-queries-would-be-nice … and all of the other top ones!

Posted by Nathan May 21, 2009 at 7:51 pm

How do I see the synonym network?

Posted by R May 21, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Thanks for building such an incredible tool for people to use for free. I get extremely annoyed when people bash this because it’s “not as good” as Google. People fail to understand this is something altogether new and being so it will have it’s small problems that I’m sure the team is hard at work on.

All the best and best wishes for the future.

Sergio. :)

Posted by Sergio Tapia May 21, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Hi,

One thing I’ve noticed is the inability to use alternative currency values (It conks out and doesn’t interpret my question)

For example £25 + 10% isn’t recognised where as $25 + 10% is.

Is this on the list of ‘things known that don’t work at the moment’?

Awesome, awesome service regardless.

Grant

Posted by Grant Hodgeon May 21, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Add mortgauge calculator!

There is something about mortgauges and anormous amount of money people pay in interest!
I am sure that smart people have a way of paying less !

Can your calculations help such industry?

Posted by Pavithra Kenjige May 21, 2009 at 9:01 pm

I would love to have more data on the length of the human gestation period. You give the mean, but what about the variance and other such data?

Thanks,
Jeremy

Posted by Jeremy Conlin May 21, 2009 at 10:14 pm

I want to find out the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths on an annual basis in a given state. I want to cross-reference the annual death rate against the dates that certain laws were passed, ostensibly to address the issue. It becomes complicated, as a number of laws were passed over the time period, so changes in death rates might be more related, at leasted on a numeric basis, might relate to more than one law.

Posted by Mark J. McPherson May 21, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Its my 1st time on alpha and it was kind of cool, but some questions were not answered, Anyways its a cool stuff even i couldnt find my blog.

Posted by razzo May 21, 2009 at 10:34 pm

You should give more priority to fixing erroneous data. I already reported some errors, such as

The series “sum n^-2.5″ converge despite what Wolfram|Alpha says. (Thanks for fixing “sum 1/k!” by the way)

Cities in *country* doesn’t return anything.

Neva river doesn’t have anything to do with Belarus.

The geographical definition of Europe, so that Moscow is *in* Europe and Vladivostok is not, Istanbul is in Europe, Ankara is not and so on.

Posted by Timofei May 21, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Hi Guys,
Ok, just started using, and it’s promising, buuuuuut……..

I’m a geologist, so I’m looking for a lot of specific information, esp. stuff that doesn’t come up in Google!

Problems so far:
1. W|A doesn’t know what a “mine” is. C’mon guys….
2. Please put in “circumference” as a calculation, instead of, or as well as perimeter?
3. W|A doesn’t have any permeability calculations, or Langmuir isotherm calculations, much less actually knowing what they are. They’re in Wikipedia!!

Posted by Richard Haselwood May 22, 2009 at 12:04 am

Please support Android browser’s user agent string as you do for iPhone’s Safari!

Posted by um May 22, 2009 at 12:58 am

I am not doing very well according to my profile. It says I havbe submitted 4 stories (probably to the Forum) and you have published none.
Am I doing something wrong?

Posted by Brian Gilbert May 22, 2009 at 1:59 am

i have a new idea for Wolfram|Alpha

Posted by dev May 22, 2009 at 2:24 am

The “housing prices in New York” page doesn’t mention whether it’s talking about New York City or New York State.

Posted by Creidieki M. Crouch May 22, 2009 at 3:02 am

more content from neuroscience would be nice, anyway wolfram alpha rocks!

Posted by anditttt May 22, 2009 at 3:11 am

I hope next list will look more like:
- height comparisons of all objects
- data on all languages
- improving understanding on general
- prizes of all products

I guess we’re getting there slowly? :)

Posted by mr.m. May 22, 2009 at 4:37 am

Congrats on a quick feedback;

While you are editing Germany, please correct ethnicity data as well, as there is no combined “Serbo Croatian” ethnicity, but separated Croatian and Serbian.

thanks and keep up the good work!

Posted by krunos May 22, 2009 at 5:23 am

Can you provide more details about China?

Posted by qiruxi May 22, 2009 at 5:44 am

Please also fix mistake with languages spoken in Belarus. Now Alpha gives “Belarusan 100 %”, but it’s not true: both Russian and Belarusian are official.
Also, it’s more correct to spell “Belarusian”, not “Belarusan”.

Posted by Aritaborian May 22, 2009 at 9:19 am

Can you be more specific about how questions about the moon are improved? We are still seeing the problems reported here:

http://community.wolframalpha.com/story.php?title=moon-distance-formula-still-corrupted

and here:

http://community.wolframalpha.com/story.php?title=bug-shows-current-distance-same-as-distance-to-moon-tomorrow

Posted by Dennis May 22, 2009 at 10:47 am

“Quick fixes” implies somehow for me that there will also be some kind of “long term fixes”. What can we expect from them?

Posted by Dominik Seibold May 22, 2009 at 10:57 am

using weather section, i tried comparing hurricane katrina (2005), rita (2005) and gustav (2008), but it is comparing with gustav (2002). no information on 2008 gustav. please update !!!!

Posted by prat May 22, 2009 at 11:17 am

Finding your site through a (not too positive) CNET article on Wolfram Alpha, I like it very much. Should have found it on the 16th already, but I’m not always reading technological news that well.

Anyway, typing the name of my town, it gave the answer to one of the questions I had since living here, that is the height above sea level. Nice to know that now.

The conciseness of the output is appealing to me as well. Wikipedia is nice, but it often gives a overwhelming amount of information, where you still have to search though to find where you were looking for. And I hate Google (and the like) for nog allowing me to make use of my regular expression knowledge/experience. I could narrow down my search much more easy if I could use that.

Hope you’ll continue in what you’re doing. I’ll read some more about the techniques being used.

Posted by Lodewijk May 22, 2009 at 11:18 am

Now Wolfram|Alpha is great; with time it will be really awesome.

Can you provide more details about regions in Spain?
We need more information about Catalonia, and it should be accesible in the computation line.Maybe you could get in contact with the “Generalitat de Catalunya”. They are in http://www.gencat.cat.
We will be very grateful if you include Catalonian and Spanish languages as well.

Thanks and keep up the good work!

Posted by joanp73 May 22, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Let’s see if the Wolfram Alpha team has a sense of humor. Check out my Wolfram Alpha cartoon:

http://guhmshoo.wordpress.com/2009/05/21/lookin-for-some-hot-stuff/

Posted by Guhmshoo May 22, 2009 at 12:55 pm

This is, undoubtfully, the greatest internet project i have ever seen. It has the potential to rule this cientific sector of internet. Continue the excellent development. Congratulations.

Posted by Diogo May 22, 2009 at 1:55 pm

It would be great if you could add data on movies (like all of imdbs and rotten tomatos database)
Also more sport stats would be cool (like baseballreference.com)

Posted by jason May 22, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Stephen Wolfram explained how W|A is only possible is because he realised that complex things could be created using a combination of simple things.
I f I ask for the the 5 longest rivers in UK
I get them , but if I ask for 10 I still get only 5.
and If I ask for the 5 shortest W|A does not understand.
I suggest the only restriction on the size of the number be a general constraint to avoid any problem the lack of a limit might cause
Also that if ‘longest’ is valid then any qualifier compatible with the data should be allowed. You could even highlight ‘longest’ and allow the user to access a dropdown list of the alternatives.

Posted by Brian Gilbert May 22, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Is there a way I can search some kind of solf data, like life satisfaction, pressure or anxiety or some others from the numerous surveys across the world, and of course make comparisons.

Though I have absolutely no idea of how it works, I understand that the format of input is vital regarding searching process, alpha has to be able to decode the input into pieces that fit differents areas and they are all different and very complicated. The problem is I don’t quite understand the format and it seems I cannot phrase the words in a way alpha can decode. So it would be helpful if there is a quick introduction or something that can tell me the general rules, so I can explore something more than the examples.

A minor problem, alpha cannot distinguish Chinese and Japanese, I input some Chinese characters, and alpha tells me ‘systme does not support Japanese’. I perfectly understand it will be a long way to go to have the Chinese version of alpha, yet, such modification would not be hard, I think.

Finally, amazing work you have done, I really really enjoy it. as i understand, google uses one way to deal with all various queries, and alpha has to come up with various ways, this makes alpha more difficult and at the same time, gives it far more room to be explored. I this this kind of searching, kind of AI stuff is the future of internet. So, good work, and be better!!

Thank you!

Posted by Zephyr May 22, 2009 at 8:39 pm

WA does not seem to understand the term stellated

Posted by apm May 23, 2009 at 5:18 am
Posted by Anda May 23, 2009 at 6:36 am

An important improvement will be to enable download of the data computed by WolframAlpha .

so, if WolframAlpha computed something for me – say a graph, I will be able to download the data and use it.

this will improve the usefulness of WolframAlpha as a scientific tool.

Posted by Ylah May 24, 2009 at 6:16 am

This service is flat out COOL!

Posted by Dan Murray May 24, 2009 at 7:48 am

I want TV station information, so that when I type in WCIA I get its ownership, effective radiated power, affiliation, etc.

Posted by Raymie May 24, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I guess I can handle WolframAlpha not knowing “Brooklyn Dodgers” but not knowing “Brooklyn, NY” seems like a problematic oversight.

Staten Island rates its own entry; the Bronx at least registers as a presumably unpeopled borough of New York City; Manhattan redirects to a generic New York City entry, but the system doesn’t seem to be at all aware of Queens and Brooklyn (that’s almost 5 million people).

Posted by Scott Klein May 24, 2009 at 9:25 pm

National and regional MAPS of current house prices would be very cool.

Posted by Rob Vint May 25, 2009 at 7:25 am