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Qwiki Interactive Search Engine Launched

(Sara Yin - PC Mag | 24 January 2011)

Qwiki, whose goal is to forever improve the way people experience information, intends to "deliver information in a format that's quintessentially human -- via storytelling instead of search," according to the company's website.

Rather than delivering simple links and snatches of information, as is the norm with Google's search, Qwiki created an interactive experience that combines the text of a typical search engine with the video element of YouTube and the encyclopedic data of Wikipedia to create a personalized search experience that talks back to you.

Founded by Doug Imbruce and web pioneer Dr. Louis Monier, who founded the early search platform AltaVista, Qwiki is partially funded by Eduardo Saverin, the co-founder of Facebook who was recently portrayed in the award-winning film "The Social Network."

Saverin is one of several venture capitalists, including Jawed Karim, a co-founder of YouTube and Pradeep Sindhu, a co-founder of Juniper networks, who recently pumped million into Qwiki.

"Qwiki is a revolutionary new platform that will define the future of information consumption globally. I'm particularly excited to support the Qwiki team as their initial product gains momentum. It is always thrilling to be involved in the early stages of disruptive technology," Saverin said in a recent Qwiki statement.

But should Google executives be shaking in their boots over this new multimedia and interactive platform?

ABC News Technology contributor Daniel Sieberg says that the jury is still out on what sort of threat Qwiki poses to the Internet establishment, but that there is always potential for the Qwiki to partner with a bigger company, like Microsoft, to become a major competitor.

"[Qwiki] is really not about quick bites of information. You're getting what's called an information stack. You're not getting a whole bunch of information, but it's presented in a very linear way," Sieberg told "Good Morning America."

Unlike Google, users will not just be getting text returned to them after a search, but a multimedia presentation.

"It's more involving and it takes a bit of patience, but what they're really hoping to do is make this more personal, so it's part of your mobile device," Sieberg said.

One of these personalized features is an alarm clock that can audibly deliver personalized bits of information, including time, date, and local weather, and even personalized information for the day such as scheduled appointments.

Currently demos of what Qwiki will offer users are available on their website, and they are asking users to join their Alpha, which will launch soon.

Time will tell if Qwiki will become the internet search giant that its founders and investors expect it to be, but for now it's certain that it will be the most interactive search site on the web.

(Original article may be found here : http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2376178,00.asp