Friday, March 11, 2011

The genie in the laptop

This week's web discovery for me is a very attractive search tool called Qwiki. I've found myself searching images almost as much as text recently and there are many very attractive apps for finding high quality photos. The idea behind Qwiki, however, is unique as far as I know. You search for a town, person, restaurant, activity or whatever and Qwiki presents you with a photo montage about your search, reads an introductory text with the vital facts and presents lots of relevant links for more information. It is a fine example of a mashup featuring material from sources like Wikipedia, Google, YouTube, Fotopedia and others.

One slightly eerie thing about Qwiki is that the computer voice that presents the information has a soft female neutral American accent which reminds me strongly of the soft-spoken tones of the computer HAL in the film 2001 - A space odyssey. I can just hear her saying "I don't think that is a good idea Alastair."

The following film is from the product launch last year and features using Qwiki as your wake-up call telling you what today's weather will be like as well as what meetings you have in your diary. The genie speaks.

Qwiki at TechCrunch Disrupt from Qwiki on Vimeo.

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