Qwiki will be launched soon, what should we expect?

On: October 26, 2010
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About olga paraskevopoulou
After receiving my MSc in Political Communication and New Technologies from the University of Athens (UoA), I re-enrolled in the MA in New Media and Culture at the University of Amsterdam (2010-2011). While studying at the University of Athens my research focused on the use of communication technologies and the emergence of hybrid communication environments. More precisely, i reviewed location-based systems and i was interested in their ability to alter and enrich the perception of space and to provoke social interactions. In 2009, I completed my Master’s dissertation on the theme of “Locative media and Artistic Interventions”. I was also involved in the research activities and projects undertaken by the New Technologies Laboratory and worked for 2 years in the e-MobiLArt project that was funded by the EU and was coordinated by the UoA(www.media.uoa.gr/emobilart). While at the University of Amsterdam i focused more on the mobile device, the mobile industry and software as service. My thesis: Life 'On The Move' - Where Are We Heading? The Mobile Phone, Mobile Ecosystem and Innovation In Services, attempted to provide an overview of the evolving ecosystem and speculate of the future of mobile engineering as well as, to reflect on ways to nurture a free-spirited mobile culture. I am currently residing in Amsterdam and working voluntarily for Appsterdam. @olmageddon


Qwiki is the award winning start up in the TechCrunch Disrupt, San Francisco. It is founded by Doug Imbruce and Luis Monier and promises to offer a new information exprerience and to solve the problem of the information overload.

First public demo at TechCrunch Disrupt

Qwiki will be launched soon. For the moment users can join the invite-only alpha to test the software and make their remarks, suggestions and ultimately help the developers to improve it.

According to Doug Imbruce, “Qwiki takes raw information on, for starters, 2 million of the most popular Web topics and turns it into an interactive presentation on your chosen subject, narrated by a computerized voice (ours is female) […] Our mission is not to replace Google searches but, instead, to introduce a curated information experience: an alternative to forcing people to wander through the wilds of the open Web”.

“We think the next iteration is to let machines select and present the content”

A “Qwiki” is a short, interactive story: a drastically improved information experience provided via interactive video. Unlike traditional rich media content, all Qwikis are created on the fly from web sources (without any human intervention).

“Qwiki does not create knowledge. It simply presents it in a supposedly more digestible way”

The lists on the home page provide a good set of examples.  Here are some shortcuts for Qwikis that have been favorites:
– Cook Islands: http://www.qwiki.com/q/#Cook_Isl…
– Kanye West: http://www.qwiki.com/q/#Kanye_West
– Usain Bolt: http://www.qwiki.com/q/#Usain_Bolt
– Naples: http://www.qwiki.com/q/#Naples
– Jellyfish: http://www.qwiki.com/q/#Jellyfish

Also, here are some examples of Qwikis that can be generated from third party data:
– Asiate Restaurant: http://www.qwiki.com/q/#Asiate_R…
– Keith Rabois: http://www.qwiki.com/q/#Keith_Ra…
– Gregory Smith: http://www.qwiki.com/q/#Gregory_…
– 188 Minna Street: http://www.qwiki.com/q/#188_Minn…

Unfortunately, although I have requested an alpha account, I  haven’t yet received it. This may be due to a large number of requests. By doing a Twitter search I realized that many people are still waiting for their login credentials while others had the chance to receive them and to try out the application.

Having a look at some Qwiki examples, I realized that they were all using Wikipedia’s content. Mostly the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry and the illustrations and often add more visual material. I guess that in the future, Qwiki information representations will not be constrained to Wikipedia entries and will include other sources of information. The founders have not yet provided more information of how the search engine of the platform will work and from where it will retrieve the information. As they describe it,  “it is a platform that can produce a Qwiki for any content to any device”, but this is very vague and general.

Will information become an experience that I could watch? I am not convinced yet, and I share most of the following doubts that were tweeted by @Zuurstof.

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