Qwiki, A Media Rich Search Engine

Qwiki, a Google-meets-Wikipedia search engine quietly launched its “alpha” site on Monday. With very little fanfare and what seems to me to be lots of potential, this new fan-dangled search engine might just get some media attention.

Information from Qwiki’s “About Us” section… “We’ve all seen science fiction films (or read novels) where computers are able to collect data on behalf of humans, and present the most important details. This is our goal at Qwiki- to advance information technology to the point it acts human.

Qwiki’s goal is to forever improve the way people experience information.

Whether you’re planning a vacation on the web, evaluating restaurants on your phone, or helping with homework in front of the family Google TV, Qwiki is working to deliver information in a format that’s quintessentially human – via storytelling instead of search.

We are the first to turn information into an experience. We believe that just because data is stored by machines doesn’t mean it should be presented as a machine-readable list. Let’s try harder.

Think of asking your favorite teacher about Leonardo Da Vinci, or your most well-traveled friend about Buenos Aires: this is the experience Qwiki will eventually deliver, on demand, wherever you are in the world… on whatever device you’re using.”

A quick search on Qwiki pulls up topical, Wikipedia-like pages with a rich media narrative of videos, photos, and audio clips relating to the topic. Like Wikipedia, users can also contribute content to a Qwiki page and embed Qwikis on third party Websites.

I was impressed by the few Qwiki searches I performed. The search results provide rich media content and presenting it via a computer generated voice is an interesting experience. The information on some subjects is too skimpy and most likely not dynamic enough to be completely up to date—so far anyway. This will probably change as the social media crowd element gets onboard (after all, the site is only a few days old!) At the end of each successful Qwiki search, you are given options to share the entry through various social networks.

Perhaps this is the media medium of the future and the option of getting this volume of information delivered on any smart device a person chooses is a very exciting prospect. Today, Qwiki is still in its infancy. Following a private alpha testing last October, the Palo Alto-based startup opened up for public testing yesterday. Last Thursday, QWiki announced its first round of financing: $8 million led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.

If you want to experience a Qwiki and perhaps help shape the future of this tool, sign up to become an alpha tester. There’s nothing to install on your computer, you’ll simply go to the Qwiki website, type in your search question(s) and be off to the races.

It will be interesting to watch as this search engine develops itself and with 8 Million dollars invested I’m curious as to what Facebook may have in mind for the technology. Let’s just wait and see, shall we?

Sign up for the “alpha” – it’s currently the ONLY way to get an insiders look at Qwiki.
You don’t have to sign up to test it out though, just go to: http://www.qwiki.com

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