Social Media Takes Time Off For A Qwiki!
When you win top honors at TechCrunch Disrupt- an event that introduces new innovative Internet companies to the world - you know you are on a trajectory for success. It's an arena that attracts developers and venture capitalists, the likes of Peter Thiel, one of Facebook's first major investors. It was there the world first got to become intimately involved with a digital Qwiki.
Qwiki, differing from a Google search has pushed open the portals to semantic technology. It is a very cool search application that creates video storied productions on the fly, based on one's Internet searches.
The technology incorporates open resources such as photos from Flickr and research content found on Wikipedia to create its instant video storyboards. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it's machine-driven and not humanly curated. As we segue from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0, we will see that all the content we created during the "social media" era of blogging, tweeting and photo-sharing has set the ground-work nicely for Qwiki and other similar platforms. Now, it's a very natural next step in the Web's evolution for these types of services - by taking advantage of what's freely accessible online- to now pull, dissect and reassemble.
To create Qwiki, founders Doug Imbruce and Louis Monier (previously founder of AltaVista) have scoured the Web to gather over 3 million reference terms for their start-up (and this number will grow over time). Similar to the semantic technology of Flipboard for the iPad and the Hufffington Post's tool called JuLiA, tomorrow's technology is here today. Differing from Web 2.0, semantic tools use today's "wisdom of machines" to curate yesterday's "wisdom of crowds." (see more on this topic at "HuffPo & The 'Wisdom of Machines' Crack Open Semantic Web Portal.")
During Qwiki's recent $8 million series A financing, it is interesting to note that one of largest investors is none other than Mark Zuckerberg's ousted partner, Edourdo Saverin. For those who are unaware, Saverin provided the source material for Ben Mezrich's book, The Accidental Billionaires..., and Aaron Sorkin's subsequent award-winning screenplay, The Social Network. Since it was never disclosed as to how much Saverin's Facebook lawsuit garnered him, it is safe to say, as a result of this investment, it had to be in the millions.
The excitement surrounding Qwiki is palpable as a result of the TechCrunch award and all the buzz it generated. And while the company is still in its private alpha stage of development, the next step is to open up the service to launch on an iPad app, which is currently in development. For those that would like to give Qwiki a test run, you can sign up for the alpha testing here. No word how long it will take Qwiki to respond to requests, however.
“The iPad app is better than sex,” boasts Imbruce. Qwiki’s highly visual presentation of information lends itself to big, touch screens. He also wants to make it easy for developers to incorporate the Qwiki format into other apps that are currently in the market or under development.
So while Saverin and his co-investors are enjoying their new shiny and "sexy" thing, it will be interesting to see how the grand-daddy of search, Google will react. With their powerful internal developmental infrastructure, I could easily imagine them working on a similar format to ward off the possibility of the world shifting to Qwikis versus their boring and soon-to-be-outdated "link-based" textual searches. Not to push the analogy, but "sex" does sell, particularly when you take up with a new partner!