Last week, it was announced that a new information site had raised over 9 million dollars in capital to proceed with what is called “an information experience.”
On January 24, Qwiki.com went live with with an Alpha version of the site that is functional, searchable and showcases brilliant examples of what Qwiki.com is all about. From monuments to natural wonders, animals and historic figures, the information presented in each ‘Qwiki’ is not human-generated, but instead gathered from sources on the web.
To understand this concept, imagine searching for a restaurant that you are interested in. To find out details, you would use a search engine, click on links that look reputable, and poke around on several of those sites, including the restaurant’s own pages, to gather information. Now picture what a Qwiki.com search looks like: you are presented with an audio/visual presentation of the restaurant that includes photos, maps and other pertinent information such as years in business, what they are known for, overall review, and a phone number.
Want to know about your hometown or favorite director? Although only in an infancy stage, Qwiki.com is slowly growing a database that will allow you see and hear and one minute mini-documentary about just about any person, place or thing you are searching for. According to a January 21 CrunchBase.com article, ”All Qwikis are created on the fly from web sources (without any human intervention).”
The Qwikis are embeddable anywhere on the web to enhance your website. Here is an example of a Qwiki on fly fishing. (I chose the medium size player.)
Facebook billionaire is early investor
A January 20 article at TechCrunch.com reports that Eduardo Saverin, an early Facebook co-founder who was pushed out but made billions from his shares, is the largest investor in Qwiki.com and was involved in the most recent round of fundraising that raised $8 million.
“A lot of the excitement around Qwiki is because of its ability to generate media on the fly that combines text, audio, and animated photos,” reports Erick Schonfeld of Tech Crunch. The TechCrunch.com article contains a video of the Qwiky.com demo presented by co-founders co-founders Doug Imbruce and Dr. Louis Monier that convinced Saverin to invest in the site.
“In the future, information becomes an experience that I can watch,” explains Imbruce as he introduced Dr. Monier for the demo , “and the future starts right here, right now, in this room.”
Information evolution in progress
Current Qwiki’s have a button to improve themselves by allowing users to suggest pictures or YouTube videos, and improve sound quality by listing any words that are mispronounced. The Parelli Natural Horse Training Qwiki has no picture or images so I suggested two from their official sites. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the system to find and use the information.
Qwiki is described by Imbruce as a platform, and as such, “can produce a Qwiki from any content on any device.” This cross-device functionality is what may propel the site’s technology to become mainstream in our lives, as is demonstrated in the demo video when Imbruce uses a Qwiki as an alarm clock. He is told the time, temperature, weather forecast including high and low, and his important appointments for the day.
It seems very sci-fi, but the proclaimed “marriage of art and science” could very soon change the way web searchers find their information. An iPad app is reported to be in development.
To try the information experience yourself, visit www.Qwiki.com. Let me know what you think!