Wolfram Alpha has made its first major update, just three weeks after the much-hyped search/answer engine was launched. So what does this update include?
The Wolfram Alpha Team was kind enough to list a number of specific elements that have been updated. These elements include:
- Additional linguistic forms for many types of data and questions
- More comparisons of composite properties (e.g. "US military vs. UK")
* Combined time series plots of different quantities (e.g. "germany gdp vs population")
- More complete handling of government positions (e.g. "chancellor", etc.)
- Updates to country borders for India, China, Slovenia, Croatia, and others
- Updates to naming for certain politically sensitive countries and regions
- Additional subcountry regions (e.g. "Wales"); many more to come
- Additional support for current and past fractional timezones (e.g. "Iran time")
- City-by-city handling of U.S. states with multiple timezones
- Updates to certain European currencies (e.g. for "Cyprus" and "Slovakia")
- Some additional historical events; many more to come
- Additional probability computations for cards and coins (e.g. "2 or 3 aces")
- Additional output for partitions of integers (e.g. "partitions of 47")
- Implicit handling of geometric figure properties (e.g. "ellipse with area 6 and major axis 2")
- Additional support for Mathematica 3D graphics syntax
- Additional support for stock prices with explicit dates
- Support for planet-to-planet distances and “nearest planet”, etc.
- Extra information when comparing incompatible units (e.g. "ergs vs. newtons")
- Improved linguistic handling for many foods (e.g. "love apple")
- More mountains added, especially in Australia
- Support for many less-common given names (e.g. "zebulon")
- More “self-aware” questions answered (e.g. "how old are you")
- More consistent handling of sidebar links to Wikipedia, etc.
The team says that altogether there have been 1850 code commits, and 591 code files have been changed. Nearly 1.1 million data values have also been affected in one way or another.
Feedback to the update appears to be generally positive, with some clearly being impressed my the rate of updates. It will be interesting to see how often these occur, and if they are often this large.