Qwiki makes Wikipedia look like a relic. This flashy online encyclopedia leverages the power of videos, photos, graphics, and audio to provide a captivating way to research any topic. As founder Doug Imbruce puts it, “information becomes an experience I can watch.” The idea is to create interactive experiences built around search terms by using machine algorithms, called Qwikis. Qwiki information is presented through voice narration along with corresponding images, video, and text, all in a smooth and interactive interface.
Imbruce, who previously created and sold a network of higher education sites, founded Qwiki in 2009, and Louis Monier came on board soon after. Monier is best known for being the founder of search engine AltaVista back in the ‘90s.
Why the Competition Should Care
Qwiki sees its information visualizations as perfectly suited to the content browsing style of the iPad. According to Qwiki, its product won’t compete directly with Wikipedia. Even so, it will pull data from Wikipedia and other web-info resources to provide a clean and engaging experience. This could disrupt more traditional data archive and search sites such as Google and Wikipedia.
Qwiki is currently in public alpha testing on the web with an iPad app scheduled for release by March. At press time, Qwiki said that it’s also interested in pursuing an iPhone app. Even so, Doug Imbruce has said that Qwiki is theoretically agnostic when it comes to device platforms and it will operate on virtually any piece of mobile hardware with enough horsepower. Qwiki plans to open its technology to interested third-party businesses by Q3 of 2011.