Qwiki is a new web service that aims to change the way we get information and make Wikipedia more exciting.
The service generates on-the-fly a short informative presentation of images, video and graphics narrated by a kind of crazy sounding robotic female voice. The tool grabs text from Wikipedia and simply read out the first few sentences, while pulling in visuals from Flickr. The founders have made sure to emphasis that Qwiki is not a search engine, but more of a reference tool.
Qwiki is still in Alpha mode at the moment and although we loved how creates a quick audio introduction to a topic accompanied by great colourful visuals, the site still has some room for improvement.
When doing a few searches we found that it sometimes pulls random things in which aren’t relevant. For example when discussing the Market Square in a particular town it brought up a picture of a generic square rather than the one from that town. The robo narrator also had some difficulty with some punctuation and pronunciation much to our amusement. For example ask her to say “borough.”
In conclusion if you want to sit back and get a quick 3 minute overview of a topic, this is site is very useful. However, you might not want to claim to be an expert on the topic.
You can sign up for Alpha testing here