When we launched Wolfram|Alpha in May 2009, it already contained trillions of pieces of information—the result of nearly five years of sustained data-gathering, on top of more than two decades of formula and algorithm development in Mathematica. Since then, we’ve successfully released a new build of Wolfram|Alpha’s codebase each week, incorporating not only hundreds of minor behind-the-scenes enhancements and bug fixes, but also a steady stream of major new features and datasets.
We’ve highlighted some of these new additions in this blog, but many more have entered the system with little fanfare. As we near the end of 2009, we wanted to look back at seven months of new Wolfram|Alpha features and functionality.
Today if you give input to Wolfram|Alpha in a language other than English, you’ll most likely see something like:
But in making Wolfram|Alpha accessible to as many people around the world as possible, our goal is eventually to have it understand every one of these languages.
A certain amount of Wolfram|Alpha input is actually quite language independent—because it’s really in math, or chemistry, or some other international notation, or because it’s asking about something (like a place) that’s always referred to by the same name.
But inevitably many inputs do depend on human language—and in fact even now about 5% of all inputs that are given try to use a language other than English.
Wolfram|Alpha knows quite a bit about the general properties of essentially every language (Spanish, Swahili, ….) But it doesn’t yet know how to interpret input in any language other than English. More »