Wolfram Alpha has always been an answer engine, and now it seems to be giving users more information related to their questions. The site announced this week that it has made some updates for 2011 in light of upcoming consumer, enterprise and developer products.
One of these changes is a feature on results pages that offers linked results. When consumers type a phrase into the query box, answers will sometimes be accompanied by blue underlined links. These links point users to more related info about a given query. Marketers may take this as a cue that consumers want to see the relevance of their queries in a broader context.
By providing answers and links to context for these answers, Wolfram Alpha acknowledges that relevancy is essential to offering effective content on the web.
At the recent Affiliate Summit West conference, Brian Solis explained that relevance is the cornerstone of successful social content, and this theory can be applied to content delivered to consumers anywhere on the the web. In his keynote, Brafton live tweeted that Solis said, "Content is key, but context is king." He encouraged marketers to profile their audiences and ensure the content they publish will meet their needs.
By linking to relevant, related answers, Wolfram Alpha is working to fulfill consumers' informational needs. Other updates include "dog-ear peelbacks" that let consumers save answers and an updated homepage, complete with a tour that explains the site's mission of making knowledge "systematically computable and accessible" for the "questions you ask."
The developments to Wolfram Alpha come at a time when question-and-answer sites seem to be catching consumers' interest; the Q&A social forum Quora is seeing a surge in membership. As Brafton reported last week, Quora activity is on the rise and marketers may want to monitor developments of the site to find new ways to reach their online audiences.