Qwiki was created to give users a new way to learn about the world. Rather than present a boring list of information, users are given a unique story telling experience. The user simply enters their desired topic and the Qwiki compiles the information. The user is given a short presentation that includes audio and images related to their topic. The presentation overviews the topic (along with captions) and provides some helpful insight to get the user started. After the presentation is finished, the user can share it through Facebook, Twitter or email or embed it on a website. The site provides links to related content on Wikipedia, Google, Fotopedia and YouTube. Users are also invited to participate through an “Improve This Wiki” button that allows them to suggest a relevant picture or YouTube video or to report any issues with the speed and pronunciation of the content through the presentation’s audio. The user can also click on images during the presentation to view their source.Show more screenshots »
Qwiki was founded in October of 2009 by Doug Imbruce and Louis Monier. It was intended to dramatically improve the way users experienced information. The site focused on a story telling style rather than a cold data approach. Today, Qwiki provides a unique way to discover information. The team is based out of Palo Alto, California and currently consists of fewer than ten individuals, including CEO Imbruce, CTO Monier and Advisors Pejman Nozad and James Siminoff. Qwiki is currently in alpha. In March 2011, Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky, Groupon co-founders, invested $1 million in Qwiki.
The internet is all about information, so it is not hard to find many resources covering almost any topic imaginable. What makes Qwiki unique is the way it presents the information. The user can watch and listen to a short presentation that details their topic along with photographs. After the presentation, the user can click buttons corresponding with four popular third party resources to learn more about the topic. Qwiki makes learning on the internet feel more human.
The Qwiki website entices users with many vibrant colors which remain subdued in varying shades as the site’s background. The homepage features a scrolling collection of color image covering numerous popular topics. A large search bar prominently displayed at the top, center of the page allows the user to begin their search. The user is immediately taken to the audio and visual presentation, which is generated surprisingly quickly.
A new user can join Qwiki by clicking on the silver “Sign Up” link at the top, right hand corner of the homepage. The registration form requires an email address and password. The bottom of the form includes three colorful options regarding Qwiki of the Day emails. The user can choose to receive emails every day, once a week or never. After submitting the information, the user is advised that a confirmation email has been sent to their address and must be accessed to complete the registration process.
Qwiki is a very helpful service, however it gathers information from resources that are free to access online. Requiring a subscription fee or other charge would be a little unreasonable at this point. Luckily, the creators have kept Qwiki even more appealing by offering free access to anyone who is willing to create an account. It is important to note that Qwiki is currently in an alpha status, so it is possible that additional content and features could be added later that require a subscription fee.
Anyone can enjoy Qwiki, from the researcher with a purpose to the casual user who enjoys exploring new things online. The site provides a nice assortment of media for each topic, highlighted by the effective presentation generated after each search.