The Wolfram|Alpha Blog is now part of the Wolfram Blog. Join us there for the latest on Wolfram|Alpha and other Wolfram offerings »
The Wolfram|Alpha Team

Shopping Goes Geek with Wolfram|Alpha

December 15, 2011 —
Comments Off

Just in time for the holidays, we’re introducing a new functionality that provides consumers with a unique approach to shopping. By leveraging data from Best Buy’s public APIs, Wolfram|Alpha users will now be able to browse more than 35,000 appliances and consumer electronics products. Wolfram|Alpha’s intuitive natural-language interface helps you hone in on the precise products you need, while its powerful data visualization capabilities give you an innovative overview of any shopping category.

We’ve taken the strengths we’ve developed in math, science, and socioeconomic data and created something equally unique and useful for online shoppers. Type in the name of a product category—”dishwashers” or “tablet computers,” for example—and Wolfram|Alpha generates a comprehensive, custom analysis. What are the typical dimensions and other physical characteristics of other products in this class? How common is a given product feature? Wolfram|Alpha helps you to answer these questions.

Type in a specific product name or model number—say, “Samsung GT-P3113TSYXAR”—and Wolfram|Alpha will highlight that product’s rank within the entire product category. From a glance at the plots below, you can see that this tablet falls pretty squarely in the middle of the pack with regard to price and generally on the low-end to average range for a variety of physical and performance attributes.

Samsung GT-P3113TSYXAR

If you’re curious about a particular property of a product, click “Show details” to get a more focused set of plots, as well as a list of all relevant products, sorted only by that property:

Samsung GT-P3113TSYXAR

Click a product image or name to generate a custom Wolfram|Alpha analysis for that product or click a price, cart image, or “Buy from Best Buy” link to go directly to that product’s page on the Best Buy website.

Combining our natural-language interface with data from Best Buy’s public APIs also allows users to do more intuitive searches. Renovating your kitchen and need a dishwasher that fits specific dimensions? Enter “dishwashers narrower than 25 inches” into Wolfram|Alpha to get a list of dishwashers that meet your needs. Building a new entertainment center and need to find a narrow Blu-Ray player within a specific budget? Try asking Wolfram|Alpha for the “narrowest Blu-Ray player under $100.” For bargain-hunting photographers out there, it is even possible to ask Wolfram|Alpha to find “the lightest digital camera under $100 with a pixel resolution greater than 12MP.”

Having trouble choosing between two or more products? You can also type their brand and model numbers into Wolfram|Alpha to generate a direct comparison:

Samsung GT-P3113TSYXAR / Visual Land ME-110-16GB-PRP / Asus TF300T-B1-WH

These are just a few of the examples made possible with this new feature in Wolfram|Alpha, and it’s the first step in providing our users with a brand-new approach to online shopping. More products and product categories will become available in the near future.


When I input the same data from my UK location I just got a bare description. WA knows that it does not have the other data for the UK yet and should say so to avoid the user thinking their input is wrong.
BG Volunteer Curator

Posted by Brian Gilbert December 15, 2011 at 10:29 am

    @ Brian -
    Our consumer product data is currently only available in the United States. We hope to expand this to other countries in the future. Thank you!

    Posted by The Wolfram|Alpha Team December 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm

[...] Shopping Goes Geek with Wolfram|Alpha, Wolfram|Alpha Blog [...]

Posted by SearchCap: The Day In Search, December 15, 2011 December 15, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Best Buy?! I’d dearly love to see an Amazon version.

Posted by Meredith McKay December 15, 2011 at 7:54 pm

[...] Siri gets some of its answers from the acclaimed answer-engine Wolfram|Alpha and Wolfram Research announced yesterday that they are leveraging data from Best Buy’s public APIs, allowing users to browse more than [...]

[...] Alpha gives an example in their official blog post: Type in a specific product name or model number—say, “Blackberry 38548-002”—and [...]

[...] Wolfram Alpha’s blog post announcing the feature: Just in time for the holidays, we’re introducing a new functionality that provides consumers [...]

Man, it’s just another feature of Siri that us Canadians get to envy. I must add it’s getting ridiculous. Being said, being able to research products has now become a million times more easy – I look forward to this coming to Canada.

Posted by Jesse Fogarty December 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm

[...] Alpha reports in its blog that it is now leveraging data from Best Buy’s public APIs to enable queries [...]

Great feature. What would be really great is to be able to scan a barcode and have Wolfram Alpha kick back a ton of information on that product (e.g. Best Buy product info). Would also be great for scanning food barcodes and getting nutritional info (yes, I know this is possible with other apps but it would be great to have it all within WA).

Posted by Brad February 7, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I tried looking for iPhone, it seem just showing details, and there is not a review of the product,. it’s needed, so we can compare before we buy. we hope someday WA can provide a review for every product search result from official WA team or just from member. I Think it useful. Ty.

Posted by Reghina February 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm

It would be very nice for WA to perhaps make better sense of information returned from Froogle and compare it to the information available from Best Buy. Amazon would be great too, yet I think that their use policy is somewhat draconian.

Posted by David Fuller February 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Just goes to show that Wolfram Alpha isn’t just there to get you by university math classes!

Posted by Anthony De Guzman August 31, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Saved time using the Wolfram Alpha results for comparing a new set of appliances at Best Buy.

Posted by Toronto SEO April 22, 2015 at 4:29 pm