Since the ‘alpha’ launch I have been playing around with Qwiki, and am pretty impressed overall. Given that search has not changed much since it’s inception (things became really serious when Google launched in 1998 and went public in 2004), the space is really wide open for improvement from challengers of all kinds. While search was primarily focused on the best algorithm to serve up the most relevant results, Google changed that when it built a better system to analyze the relationships between websites in order to improve relevancy of those results.
Most recently, innovation around user experience has gained traction for challengers such as Microsoft who have seen fairly large gains with Bing adoption. Bing’s success (outside of a huge marketing spend by Microsoft) has primarily been driven by relevancy supported UI design. Just as we are inundated with choice when walking down a supermarket isle, we need design and differentiation of packaging along with clean navigation to help point the way. Search is no different.
Enter Qwiki. Qwiki’s strategy is primarily based upon the fact that we have no time to wade through pages of information in order to piece together what is most relevant to what we are looking for. Put another way, we are lazy. To combat this, Qwiki is working on technology that can compile a relevant ‘story’ out of all items related to our primary search in order to deliver a succinct narrative.
Now, Qwiki is no Google, but it is not trying to be and not all searches yield results. Qwiki focuses on compiling results based upon popular searches vs. organizing the world’s information all in one go…but it can get there eventually. Think of it as a Hollywood version of Wikipedia.org. A living Encyclopedia. An entertained form of Wikipedia for kids and those of us that would prefer a more animated solution to educate and entertain vs. a dry text-book delivery. It’s not perfect (reminder: it is still in Alpha), but it is a great step towards evolving the space and challenging the big boys.