Before you go off clicking on any of the blue links listed in a page of search results, Bing really wants you to have a chance to know a little something about your topic of search before you go diving off into the depths of the internets. Bing already incorporates small snippets of information about a topic among search results, courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica, and it also will display recent scores and stats of Major League Baseball games and players. Now, Bing wants to give internet users a warm, welcome handshake to topics and that handshake is called Qwiki.
Bing announced today that users will begin seeing Qwikis, those surprisingly appealing interactive presentations of pictures and videos that are narrated by a calm female voice from the future, among the links of Bing's search results. The link to open the Qwiki appears just below the Wikipedia link in the search results (see below).
As you've likely predicted, users will click the "Watch the Qwiki" link and the presentation will open up directly on the page.
The pictures used in the slideshow are actually links to other pages that will open up upon clicking, sometimes to other Wikipedia pages, to pictures uploaded onto Fotopedia, or maybe even to a page of related Bing searches (like when I watched the Qwiki for basil and then clicked on a picture labeled "lamiacae" that then opened up a new browser tab of Bing search results for the plant family, lamiacae). The Qwikis are only integrated with Wikipedia content, which explains why the narration you hear in the presentation will be the first couple of paragraphs from the adjoining Wikipedia article, but Bing says that eventually it hopes to include content from other search results.
Qwiki and Bing may be on the verge of changing search into an interactive experience that has until now not really be tested. It's ambitious, likely looking to produce active browsing instead of having a person sit there passively scanning over a bunch of similar-sounding links.
"Search can be so much more than text and blue links," said Doug Imbruce, the Founder and CEO of Qwiki. "For example, with today's release, searches for 'Brooklyn Bridge' on Bing produce beautiful, interactive playable presentations that have demonstrated increased information retention." Imbruce added that it's time to start reshaping the way people think about internet search. "Looking ahead, Qwiki and Bing can help any content creator or web site owner help people do more through increased engagement."
Bing Search Director Stefan Weitz offered up this short demonstration of how Qwikis will appear in the results as well as what users can get from watching the presentations.
The Qwikis embedded in the Bing search results are a pretty savvy counter to Google's Knowledge Graph, which is essentially the same thing - the first bit of a Wikipedia entry, some pictures, a couple of links - but a lot less dynamic than what Bing's introduced today.
As far as the category of flair goes, Bing wins this round, but we'll have to wait and see if this new feature is enough to inspire internet users to migrate from Google.