Wolfram Alpha, the all wonder tool which tries to explain the world by answering various queries, even those submitted by Apple’s Siri, has recently launched a Facebook personal analysis tool. Although the new feature does not set itself apart in the website, by simply tipping a pre-defined query containing the keyword Facebook, Wolfram will launch a magical portal filled with interesting details.
The first computational knowledge engine, as many like to call Wolfram Alpha, has expanded its uses to social media analysis since the last day of August. After launching in 2009 as a plain answering machine and serving as an inspiration for Apple’s mobile engineering team when developing Siri (and possibly even its competition), the British scientist Stephen Wolfram aims now for new heights, like Saga wants to do in the near future.
What can Wolfram Alpha offer to Facebook users?
For starters, Wolfram Alpha can sometimes be seen as a personalized search engine. Instead of offering plain links as the answer to a question, Wolfram Alpha replies with relevant details regarding the queried matter, like its definition, when has the object been encountered first or even a straightforward answer to simpler questions (it’s not called Alpha for nothing).
Being the first of its kind means that certain barriers must be broken without help, and when it comes to Facebook, Wolfram Alpha offers a simple research and analyzing tool which can be easily used by anyone. After creating a free account and typing “my Facebook” into the search form itself, the engine will begin displaying the following data:
- Basic Personal Information – when you were born and which day of the week as back then, exactly how old are you and how long you have to wait until you’re next birthday comes.
- Localization-related info – details regarding your birthplace and the current location you reside, like the city population.
- Activity– pies and charts illustrating your every single activity since start until the moment, including how many links, statuses and photos you have uploaded. More interesting is the section where Wolfram analyzes the posting hours of such data and the days of the week in which they were posted. Pure gold for marketing enthusiasts.
- Posts – statistics on how many posts the user has written, how lengthy were they, and even a word cloud with the most used terms. Also in this section the user can view who are the top re-sharers and the top commenters.
- Check-in section – displaying the most frequented locations within a nicely contoured map.
- Weekly app activity – reveals the most used applications which have access to your account and how frequently are they active, on an hour/week day basis.
- Friend related info – a cluster of nicely displayed information about your friends, including pie charts with genders and relationship statuses, age distribution (this one even shows your friends ordered by age), a location graphic, the most known languages and the most common names. Those who forget about birthdays can leave aside that weekly email sent by Facebook and take a look at Wolfram’s reminder, which sort of offers more details than usually.
- Friend network – this feature stroke me as interesting, because it reveals the various circles within each of your friend is included, by separating accounts basing on the links between them. Using such information, a map is contoured and the user can see a representation of its buddies as dots, and links between certain users as lines.
This data is solely based on the information captured by the Wolfram Facebook app and analyses only the connections made available to your profile, and your profile alone. It cannot be used as a spying tool but someone with a healthy imagination can rely on it to see trends and vial, possibly even marketing-worthy information.
Although limited, Wolfram has its uses
On the other hand, Wolfram Alpha’s limitations can be seen right away, the service having quite a few bugs. It takes a few-to-many steps to initialize a proper report and even after the service can find a working server, some data is left unrevealed.
For instance, some of the features presented above have buttons which can be used to obtain more features, but these buttons often crash and send the user to the first page. Some charts do not appear, pictures are not showing and for me personally, check-ins were not displayed, nor the most liked photos.
Although its present uses are a bit limited, as Wolfram itself stated, people should expect a lot more coming in the not-so-distant future. Until then, it’s a tool to be used and possibly, pure gold for marketing geniuses.[via] WolframAlpha