April 20, 2011
Today’s app du jour seems to be Qwiki, a fascinating iPad app making its debut in the App Store. It presents Wikipedia information in a unique way that is perfect for Apple’s device. Besides, it is backed up by a Facebook Co-founder, which doesn't hurt. Called “a seed that will blossom into an Internet wonder,” by The New York Times, Qwiki gives readers a visual representation of the popular Wikipedia website. The app is one part search and another visual discovery. As you would on the actual Wikipedia website, you may search for anything. Qwiki claims 3 million topics are easily accessible, and that sounds about right. However, the app’s biggest selling point is how it finds and arranges topics, which you might not have been looking for in the first place. On the home page are four main sections. These include the “Qwiki of the Day,” as well as links to topics and places that are at your current location, called “Explore.” In addition, a “Popular Near Me” section offers even more information about your current location. Finally, “Popular Locations” shows links to places from around the world that one may find interesting. Joining the home page are those covering actors, cities, natural wonders, and monuments. These topics will mostly likely change over time. There is also a page that lists the most “popular” stories of the day. Once you click on a topic, the uniqueness of the app comes alive. Think of each link as a 30- to 60-second overview of the topic presented in cinematic form. Each is explored through a combination of relevant images, videos, info graphics, and narration. Finally, when you are done watching a topic, you may share the Qwiki via email, Twitter, or Facebook. You are also shown a list of relate topics, as well as links to Wikipedia, Google, Fotopedia, and YouTube. Other features include:
Besides knowing what Qwiki actually does, it is important to note the app has some formable backing. Facebook Co-founder Eduardo Saverin was the lead investor in an $8 million round of financing. Saverin stated in January:
- Worldwide map highlights popular Qwikis at any zoom level and identifies Qwikis near you
- Related Qwikis suggest other relevant Qwikis for continued learning
- Interactive mode allows you to control the speed at which information is presented
- Lightweight Qwiki format ideal for use via cell connections
“I am in a situation today where I can do what I love, which is help other entrepreneurs. Facebook has been a big thing and will be a big thing. Qwiki is early stage, but they are on the path to be a game changer.”Although users will no doubt be amazed by the quality and depth of each topic as it is presented, some may grow tired of the format. After all, sometimes the combination of images, videos, info graphics, and narration may be overkill. Still, Qwiki is worth checking out in the App Store and because it is free, there is nothing to lose. What do you think? Leave your comments below.