Siri Responsible for Quarter of Wolfram Alpha Queries, Pro Version of Engine Launches

The digital assistant featured on Apple's flagship iPhone accounts for nearly 25 percent of all queries on the Wolfram Alpha 'computational knowledge' engine - which this week announced "a major step forward".

As The New York Times reports, the technology developed by Dr. Stephen Wolfram and his team, which launched in 2009, was initially only used for mathematics and science facts, but later the engine became prominent enough to catch the eye of Apple.

The officials at Cupertino took the inspired decision to use Wolfram Alpha to power Siri and provide accurate answers to user questions.

On Wednesday a new version of the engine has been released dubbed Wolfram Alpha Pro. The founder claims it is "the single most important development for Wolfram|Alpha since the original website launched in 2009."

This premium version of the search engine costs $4.99 a month, or $2.99 for students, and includes enhancements for handling data as well as images.

As Dr Wolfram explained, “We’re starting to have the ability to understand data and images in the way we understand text queries.”

The Wolfram Alpha database is also apparently now more useful; for example when asking for times of a particular film, the service delivers the schedule for local cinemas - not from scouring the Web - rather from a special information service.

But this is only a stage in the development of Wolfram Alpha, as the new strategy is geared to working for private companies from a wider range of fields like health care, financial services and oil and gas to develop corporate versions of the search engine.