Qwiki opened up to the public today in alpha form, after being in private alpha since launching in October.
Qwiki was in the news last week, as it secured a new round of funding led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, and now the world can see what all the fuss is about.
Just what is Qwiki? From a user perspective, think about it as Wikipedia if the articles were read to you in a robotic voice while showing you related imagery, and offering you easy ways to share and embed the content. At least that's how it appears.
Qwiki's mission statement says:
We are the first to turn information into an experience. We believe that just because data is stored by machines doesn’t mean it should be presented as a machine-readable list. Let's try harder.
Think of asking your favorite teacher about Leonardo Da Vinci, or your most well-traveled friend about Buenos Aires: this is the experience Qwiki will eventually deliver, on demand, wherever you are in the world… on whatever device you’re using.
Here's what a Qwiki looks like embedded:
Qwiki has a long way to go before it becomes as broad a resource as Wikipedia, but given that it's only just launched to the public in Alpha status, we can probably give it some time.
"Based on the overwhelming positive response to Qwiki's private testing, I'm pleased to release the alpha version of our reference product to the public," said CEO and co-founder Doug Imbruce. "We believe Qwiki has created a more organic method of information consumption by merging art and science and are excited to improve the product in response to more user feedback."
"Qwiki is not search -- it's a new media format and a groundbreaking method of consuming information, said CTO and co-founder Dr. Louis Monier. "The future of Qwiki is to allow mass creation and customization of rich media via our platform, and our new public alpha features represent the first step towards that vision."
I've been signed up for the private beta for a while, and I have to say I've simply enjoyed getting the daily emails from the service, which give you random facts for things that happened on that day in a different year.