Wolfram Delivers Siri-Enabled Shopping Results From Best Buy

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Specialized search engine Wolfram Alpha, one of Apple's launch partners for Siri, has partnered with Best Buy to deliver shopping results. As a result, iPhone 4S users can now search a number of products and categories from Best Buy's catalog, and get prices and descriptions returned.

From Wolfram Alpha's blog post announcing the feature:

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.

Simply ask Siri "wolfram iPhone 4S" or "wolfram samsung television" and it quickly returns Best Buy shopping results. It's certainly not the easiest way to search Best Buy's website and occasionally returns fairly useless results, but it is another example of the potential uses for the Siri's contextual voice recognition technology.

Top Rated Comments

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115 months ago
Am I the only one who's not crazy about this? All of a sudden, Siri is a biased advertising machine. I understand the utility for shopping-related searches could be useful, but right now anything and everything gets funneled to Best Buy. Maybe they add more stores eventually, but who decides who gets priority? Whoever pays Wolfram the most? And are we going to see shopping related things impinge on our other searches? For example, if I ask Siri about "how to make hot chocolate", am I going to be sent to the Swiss Miss web site? If I ask for "car reviews", will I be sent to Chevy or Ford instead of actual reviews? If I ask about "Acapulco", will I get a bunch of travel and airline results? It's not much of a stretch to imagine it sliding that way over time. It could end up so it's not worth separating the signal from the noise, like how now in Google searches, you often end up with 10 pages of "BizDealsPlus" type links instead of what you were looking for.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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115 months ago
"Wolfram 'Lost credibility'"
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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115 months ago

Why are some people upset about this? It just pulls the pricing data and pictures from Best Buy. It doesn't even give you a link. I think it's a pretty cool feature, and I can see it expanding in the future.

Saying "Wolfram iPhone 4S Best Buy" and getting results for Best Buy would be a cool feature. The way it is now though sounds like they're going in the wrong direction and crossing the fine line between trying to provide a service and give users info they want, and doing advertising regardless of / in spite of what the user wants.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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115 months ago
Given that Best Buy have just gone bust here in the UK (less than 2 years after launching), I'm guessing we wont see it working here :rolleyes:
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago

Am I the only one who's not crazy about this? All of a sudden, Siri is a biased advertising machine. I understand the utility for shopping-related searches could be useful, but right now anything and everything gets funneled to Best Buy. Maybe they add more stores eventually, but who decides who gets priority? Whoever pays Wolfram the most? And are we going to see shopping related things impinge on our other searches? For example, if I ask Siri about "how to make hot chocolate", am I going to be sent to the Swiss Miss web site? If I ask for "car reviews", will I be sent to Chevy or Ford instead of actual reviews? If I ask about "Acapulco", will I get a bunch of travel and airline results? It's not much of a stretch to imagine it sliding that way over time. It could end up so it's not worth separating the signal from the noise, like how now in Google searches, you often end up with 10 pages of "BizDealsPlus" type links instead of what you were looking for.

This was my first reaction, as well. Still using the iPhone 4, but will have the next iteration. I have been very interested in Siri, but if it's engine is available for advertising I just completely LOST interest. This feels (to me) like an academic researcher suddenly getting caught taking a money from a corporate entity under the table. Once that credibility is gone, it's gone for good. Even if there's an opportunity to opt out of ad service, I'll always believe the results will be skewed towards corporate backers. Too bad. Siri seemed too good to be true.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago

I got that too. I had to say it like "wolf-rum."

I can't get it to understand stuff such as Skyrim or PlayStation 3, and it for other things, like Steve Jobs Biography, it just goes to the wrong thing, like the Wolfram page on Steve Jobs in that case. So not very useful yet.


Because "Wolf-rum" is the correct pronunciation...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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