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The Wolfram|Alpha Team

A Big Change Is Coming — Wolfram|Alpha to See Dramatic Functionality Enhancements

February 1, 2012 —
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Big change coming

Most of our users are aware that we release a new version of Wolfram|Alpha every week. Each version includes countless changes—including regular data updates to hundreds of sources, improvements to our natural-language parser and other core frameworks, and completely new areas of coverage.

This blog usually focuses on new datasets and functionality, and if you’ve been reading it recently, you know we’ve made some huge additions in just the last couple of months. We’ve introduced our own unique spin on NFL statistics. We’ve added the ability to visualize, compare, and purchase consumer products. And we’ve extended popular mathematics functionality like “Show steps” to more and more domains, most recently differential equations, as we highlighted earlier this week.

But the biggest change to Wolfram|Alpha since its launch nearly three years ago will be our next release, and we wanted you to be aware that it’s coming. We’re not going to let you know the details just yet, but what you’re going to find is a dramatic enhancement of functionality. You’ll be able to personalize your interaction with Wolfram|Alpha in ways that only our combination of algorithms, presentation tools, and data representation could make possible.

You’ll still be able to use Wolfram|Alpha as you have in the past if you choose, but we think what we’ve put together represents the next big step in the evolution of computational knowledge, and one that will make Wolfram|Alpha an indispensable part of your online life.

Stay tuned! The announcement of this important release will be made on this blog.


This is great news. I love Wolfram|Alpha and I think it is an indispensable tool, however I feel it has a lot more potential. I am looking forward to seeing it become more personalized and the possibilities that can bring.

Posted by Sepheryn February 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Exciting 🙂

Posted by Oscar February 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Show me the steps!

Posted by Thomas Fuller II February 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Yes, looking forward to it!. And please, please include a simple way to apply functions against previous results.

Posted by Richard Sprague February 1, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    You can apply functions to previous results in a small way.
    1. Write your query for the first result.( 3 * population of world)
    2. Write your second query with nthe irst as a factor. 5 * (3* population of world)
    The example is trivial to illustrate the syntax clearly.

    Posted by Brian Gilbert February 3, 2012 at 6:54 am

      @Brian Gilbert: (replying doesn’t work) — that’s obviously not what we’re talking about. Imagine a repeated action like a recursive relation. Options:
      1. Roll over options, click copyable plaintext, find the one you want, highlight, copy, highlight your old query, then click submit. Repeat as necessary.
      2. Click submit. Repeat as necessary.

      Posted by J February 4, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Awesome news. 🙂 BTW remember to port the CDF browser plugin to Linux. 😉

Posted by Lazza February 2, 2012 at 4:21 am

More work on integrating like a human!!!! Awesome news though.

Posted by Jason February 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Well, I don’t know about you but I’m excited! Bring it on!

Posted by Nate February 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm

This sounds great, but as Lazza said, I do really hope this comes with a port of the CDF player to Linux. Still, though, I can’t wait to see how this turns out. 🙂

Posted by David February 2, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Bring it on! Super exciting!

Posted by Vu February 2, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Will we finally be able to create an account and, for instance, SAVE specific queries so we don’t have to manually retype and/or copy/paste them over and over again, saving them elsewhere? Just saying. Pretty annoying to have to kind of start from scratch every time… My Gmail thread of alpha-related queries is getting kind of ridonculously big.

Posted by Michael Gmirkin February 2, 2012 at 8:03 pm

P.S. This is basically non-news until you actually release the ACTUAL news. It’s like “we have a secret, but we’re not telling.” or “We have news! Or… DO we??”

Then why even mention it??

Posted by Michael Gmirkin February 2, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Awesome, I’m excited. Just an idea, I would prefer a way to choose which value u= when showing the steps to an integration.

Posted by Brennan February 2, 2012 at 8:09 pm

How about the mobile app? Is that going to also be updated?

Posted by Michael February 2, 2012 at 9:09 pm

So exciting!!!!!!!! but now I’m super curious! I hate suspense! 🙂

Posted by Shana February 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Please, please, PLEASE make Wolfram capable of accepting Latex as input. Some of us love to use Latex to write mathematical equations, and being able to copy and paste Latex into Wolfram to see information would be FREACKING AWESOME.

Posted by Joe Pea February 2, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Yeah. I really need the steps right now. Some math too hard for me too understand.

Posted by Guen February 2, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I am pretty exited for it ! Hope I’ll see it soon ! 🙂

Posted by Harsh Prasad February 3, 2012 at 3:07 am

We’ll see about that- but for now give it a try !

Posted by Hieronimus February 3, 2012 at 4:05 am

« You’ll still be able to use Wolfram|Alpha as you have in the past if you choose, but we think what we’ve put together represents the next big step in the evolution of computational knowledge, and one that will make Wolfram|Alpha an indispensable part of your online life. »

I really like Wolfram|Alpha, and I always enjoy using it. But I don’t want it to become “an indispensable part of [my] online life”. And I think this should not be your goal.

Posted by victor February 3, 2012 at 4:30 am

Is it Siri related?

Posted by Luke Stanley February 3, 2012 at 4:48 am

Please introduce “vocal search” on WA !!!

Posted by ionut February 3, 2012 at 6:21 am

Hooary, I love the “show steps” option (particularly for differential equations) thank you!

Posted by JT February 3, 2012 at 6:37 am

I look forward to another breakthrough!

Posted by Thomas February 3, 2012 at 6:56 am

How is Wolfram Alpha contributing to its own evolution? There have probably been some surprises.

Posted by Brian Gilbert February 3, 2012 at 6:58 am

Great work, keep it on!

Posted by Matt February 3, 2012 at 8:36 am

Oh my gosh. Why do you have to make it so tantalising? Now I can’t wait!

Will it be Wolfram | Beta by any chance?

Posted by Brendan February 3, 2012 at 8:50 am

Please please PLEASE let us pass the output of one calculation into another using brackets or something. This would make the site soooo much more flexible.

Posted by Jill February 3, 2012 at 10:30 am

It would be great just if parentheses were handled properly. So simple, yet so powerful.

For instance: (dawn madrid) + ((dusk madrid) – (dawn madrid))/2

Posted by jmora February 3, 2012 at 10:42 am

Awesome! Excellent news, and will definitely look forward to the unveiling!

Kudos to all WA!!

Posted by fiz February 3, 2012 at 10:59 am

Please. PLEASE no Facebook-interaction, I beg you!

Posted by Okayokayokay February 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Haha I didn’t even see your comment before posting mine. I agree with you though, social integration would add all sorts of clutter and “personalized results”

    Posted by Jonathan February 5, 2012 at 11:02 pm

      We may be at crosspurposes but here are a couple of points which may be relevant,
      WA hseems to have access to all Mathematica functions except the procedural ones. To include them would be the same as giving Mathematica away free and they obviously don’t want to do that. So if you want the procedural functions you need a Mathematica licence or one of the Presumably paid for APPS that allow another programming language to Call Wolfram Alpha and get the result returned for further processing by that programming language.
      There is the chance that a workaround exists for a particular procedural function someone wants to use and if so they could try posting their need in this forum.

      Posted by Brian Gilbert February 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I’m excited about this, maybe in the future it would be nice to get something like fast (google wave like) online colaboration. An equation database similar to wikipedia but for equations, and some kind of history to use previous results.

Posted by david February 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm

hi resolution images and better iphone app please 🙂

Posted by Oscar February 3, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I am very excited for this. Why isn’t there even a hint? I am anticipating something really amazing. Continue with your hard work Wolfram employees.

Posted by William February 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm

So, symbolic entry, and visual templates? (For those of us who are too lazy to remember proper syntax)

Posted by Andrew February 4, 2012 at 12:42 am

I love you guys. Thank you.

Posted by 7yl4r February 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I think in seven – ten years WA will become natural-speeking personal secretary (with perfect math scills, of course).

Posted by Jane February 4, 2012 at 3:21 pm

As long as it can still do my algebra homework. 😛

Posted by George Barnick February 4, 2012 at 6:09 pm


Posted by Nash February 4, 2012 at 9:58 pm

wow! I am very excited for this

Posted by Shubham February 4, 2012 at 11:46 pm

i’m excited about improved wolfram.

But in my mind, wolfram is good, but i hope far better.
i would love to see that the functions i use to be fore developped.

Posted by oxymore February 5, 2012 at 5:06 am

As long as it’s not anyway “user friendly” update like Google’s updates have been. They’ve completely broken their search tools (incl. the calculator). :-\

Well, I’m hopeful – All the updates Wolfram Alpha has introduced have only helped in using the wonderful service; don’t see any reason why the trend would change.

However, I still iterate: Please don’t sacrifice functional approach in favour of “user friendly”-approach.

Posted by G3 February 5, 2012 at 5:18 am

Well, we’d be able to get practically anything we want from WA by the year 2050….

Posted by unknwnprsn February 5, 2012 at 6:47 am

Once Again: Please improve
1) Capability to chain functions
2) Save queries / Sessions
3) Allow collaboration on these (Queries/ Sessions
4) Accept Latex Input
5) Do NOT include Social Networks/ Social features

Posted by dan February 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Suggestion: You should add “voice search” to wolframalpha.

Posted by ?????? February 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm

best site ever, i just do not realized why they do not make calculators instead of cellphone apps, personally i would prefer to buy a wolfram alpha super calculator instead of a texas instrument or a Casio… and no, its not the same, cellphones are not allowed on exams…

sincerly an engineering student

Posted by Diego abad February 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Wolfram Alpha is already an indispensible part of my life, you mean it could be more indispensible!?…

Posted by Ramin February 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm

And I know many people have been waiting for this but where are the course assistant apps for android. For sure the android app definitely needs an update. But most importantly course assistant apps. Voice search would also be awesome along with steps to show binary conversions, octal, hexagon, and multiple other bases.

Posted by Josh February 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm

I’m excited and worried at the same time.

I’m worried some kind of social networking integration feature will be added.

Posted by Jonathan February 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm

As my top website of the net ….you are now neck and neck with wikipedia…..those new functional enhancements might put you on the very top in my book !

Posted by jdelac February 6, 2012 at 12:42 am

I guess that big change will be social integration. Sounds cliche, I know.

Posted by Karan February 6, 2012 at 3:44 am

@ Joe Pea, you can already do that…\Sigma_{i%3D0}^{\infty}+\frac{1}{2^i}

Posted by Lazza February 6, 2012 at 4:26 am

Lets hope you improve the terrible max min temperature- future Projections – even when PAST days are specified

Posted by dan February 6, 2012 at 7:04 am

It would be great to show the step how to do it with the answer.
So I can follow the step manually on some other problems with myself.

Posted by Passawit February 6, 2012 at 10:11 am

you’re so thrilling… what’s new? please tell us!

Posted by Matteo February 6, 2012 at 11:28 am

Wonderful, looking forward about what is comming

Posted by g February 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm

i just love wolfram alpha.what’s new?

Posted by tihametics February 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I expect it will be something to enter to history. If won’t, I will be sad.

Posted by frei February 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm

cool beans

Posted by christina February 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Im sure you know that, but, you change the way of education the way of research,and knowledge seeking. i find wolfram to be, the best tool for knowledge, from integrals, graph, to economy data, and the nutrition of a chicken breast and rice. amazing! i just think of the algorithms that are needed to create this art, and the fact that it is available to everyone everywhere, and i feel combination of pride in our spices, and inspiration! thank you

Posted by idan February 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm

looking forwards to using WA a lot more to find answers, over Google and Bing. Increased functionality, even better!

Posted by thinsmek February 7, 2012 at 1:08 am

Is this a publicly traded company? If not, waiting for the IPO!!!! This puts wikipedia, google, bing, yahoo… to shame. It’s a life saver for calc. Keep up the good work.

Posted by ross February 7, 2012 at 1:34 am

is there any chance that WA is available in other languages (french, spanish, german) in the near future?

Posted by Mario February 7, 2012 at 9:48 am

I love Wolfram|Alpha! This news is so exciting!

Posted by Matthew Roundy February 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Great great announcement, Wolfram|Alpha! I’m very excited about the future!

    Posted by cosypanther February 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Make a website in Polish, please. Is that possible?

Posted by Eric February 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm

If they’d support Android instead of that crappy i-product line.

Posted by Ash Smith February 7, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Are you planning a free version of Mathematica light on iPad like MatLab Free on iPad? It is pretty sweet. It is funny to see folks calling it a GoogleBing killer again. I guess they really don’t like using it.

Posted by Kevin Cook February 7, 2012 at 3:34 pm

It’s a fantastic data mining tool, but still very challenged in its ability to correctly interpret a query, and very contextually unaware. Just to check your NFL data, I entered “Tom Brady” statistics from 2000 to 2012, (adding the quote after an initial answer listing the number of people named Tom in 2000), and got a totally unrelated statistic about him earning 0 Olympic medals in 2000. How do we get to all that database goodness?

Posted by User February 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Where do I pay?

Posted by Markavian February 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm

WolframAplha is really wonderful tool, but if we should pay for the premium version – it is shame and bad strategy

Posted by Martin February 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm

what about APA references in the source information?

Posted by Oscar February 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Great work, keep it up!

Posted by Dr Mayank Trivedi February 8, 2012 at 7:31 am

suggestion: open the store and let people sign up for wolfram alpha pro *now*!

Posted by martin joseph brej February 8, 2012 at 8:54 am

Good News Everyone!
There will be REAL News in the not-too-distant future!

Really guys, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Wolfram|Alpha and I AM excited for every step the W|A-team takes on it’s road to extended awesomeness and perfection, but THIS blog-article was below you.

Also: “Wolfra|Alpha PRO” is not a good name, it sounds like there will be the normal Wolfram|Alpha and the monthly-subscription fee Wolfram|Alpha with extended Mathematica-like functionality and server-side preference of W|A-Pro subscribers.

Wolfram|Alpha always was something idealistic in my thoughts. A tool offered free of charge to mankind on it’s quest for knowledge. I also love that there are now W|A shares offered in any stock exchange. If it’s gonna be a subscription-bonus business model from now, you’ve lost a lot of rep in my book.

Posted by Tyler Durden February 8, 2012 at 10:36 am

I was hoping I could start using this today! Open it up, please 🙂

Posted by Monika Leal February 8, 2012 at 11:01 am

just discovered Wolfram Alpha, and its awesome!!!!

i love it!!!

its like something out of a future sci-fi movie.

Posted by Mahfuj February 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm


Posted by Dave February 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm

eager to see what is coming!

Posted by Carsharing February 9, 2012 at 5:38 am

Really cool if the new features can be used in public health and medicine. Imagine a database that includes disease risk factors, demographics … and the result is adjusted risk assessment of certain outcomes. Globally, poor countries can use WA pro to save millions on statistical software and needless IT. It can be used for Malaria, Polio…. WA needs to incorporate public health data from WHO …

Posted by Malak Bokhari February 9, 2012 at 7:00 am

This is amazing, but why am i being asked to upgrade to the PRO version just to be able to enlarge an image???? I’m not going to pay to use a simple feature such as “enlarge.” That is ridiculous.

Posted by Jake February 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm

I use Mathematica every day, and some of the .nb are say 10 to 100 lines of simple code then add comments. Direct input into Alpha is unsuitable, even simple programs need testing etc.

It would be great to be able to upload a tested .nb program to Alpha on my iPhone or iPad, to use them as interactive “calculators” to what-if in meetings, in the lab, the work shop, at the test site.

Posted by Bob February 10, 2012 at 7:01 am