Nobody’s using Siri, eh? Well, think again. Today, a new report reveals that about one quarter of the queries to Wolfram Alpha now come from the Siri voice assistant integrated in Apple’s iPhone 4S. The New York Times reveals that because of Siri, the company’s staff has grown to 200 people. Do I smell a worthy Google competitor in the making? ;-)
Siri accounts for about a quarter of the queries fielded by Wolfram Alpha, whose staff has grown to 200.
The company first began using Wolfram Alpha when it launched Siri with the iPhone 4S last October. Wolfram Alpha allows users type in complex factual queries, and the answer engine will automatically generate accurate answers from its structured data containing hundreds of datasets.
Now, if we take a look at the bigger picture, this could be a severe threat to Google’s search business. What Apple is essentially doing with Siri is transitioning users away from a search engine to an answer engine. For example, if I type in Google “When is Christmas?”, it will give me a bunch of weblinks. However, Siri on the other hand will give me a direct answer. Since Google’s large chunk of revenue comes from the ad/search business, Siri can directly harm their revenue stream since there are no ads in the service. In fact, it has already proven to do so.