Qwiki: Stop Reading and Start Learning


Earlier today, my friends were raving about JJ Cale and the soulfulness of his music. Unfortunately, I had no clue regarding who the heck JJ Cale is. So what did I do? I whipped out my phone, and ran a Wikipedia search for Cale using Opera Mobile. Wikipedia might not be accurate enough for academic purposes, but its utility as a reference site is unquestionable. However, reading up an encyclopaedia article spanning several thousand words is neither the most efficient nor the most natural way to get an overview of any subject. Enter Qwiki.

Some of you might have already heard of Qwiki, since it got a lot of press coverage for winning TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco ’10. Qwiki describes itself as a new information experience. It wants to tell a story, a quintessentially human way to experience information, instead of just dishing out a collection of facts. TechCrunch described it as a “movie highlight reel of Wikipedia pages”, and that’s what it is. Enter a topic you want to know more about, and Qwiki will present the basic facts in a neatly put together slideshow of images and text accompanied by a computer generated voiceover. Qwiki is currently in closed beta, so the embedding of the videos is currently disabled. However, you can get an idea about the service from the video embedded below.

Update: I just realsed that can actually view a Qwiki without logging in. Here’s a Qwiki on M. K. Gandhi.

Each video or presentation itself is called a Qwiki, and for now, there are just over two million of them. The breadth of topics covered is quite impressive. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Qwiki even had information on Asansol, my home city. Although a Qwiki won’t make you an expert on any topic, most of them have enough depth to help you gain a meaningful overview of the subject matter. Even better, the Qwikis are interlinked. So, you can keep hopping from one Qwiki to another Qwiki, in Wikipedia style.

A snapshot of the Qwiki on J J Cale

I am amongst those who were rooting for CloudFlare to win the TC Disrupt, and after having used Qwiki for a couple of weeks, I still maintain that CloudFlare should have won. Qwiki is intuitive, entertaining, addictive and fun. However, it’s hardly disruptive in the manner Soluto can become with its PC Genome Technology, or CloudFlare can become with its CDN for everyone approach. I would have also liked to have Qwiki as an app on my phone, as it is a fun and useful way to pass time while travelling. However, for now it’s a web only service. Worse still, it utilises Flash, which puts it beyond the reach of iPhone and iPad users (and even a majority of Android users, since Flash requires at least Android 2.2).

Qwiki is currently in closed alpha. This means that there might be some bugs (I noticed that some of the Qwikis refuse to load), and you will need an invitation to get in. If you want to take it for a spin, I can help you out with an invite. Here’s what you need to do:
Arrow Either, subscribe to my newsletter and leave a comment using the same email address.
Arrow Or, follow me on Twitter and let me know by leaving a comment.

(Doing any one of the above is sufficient)

I don’t want to keep doing this forever, so just make sure that you get in your invite request before 14th November.

, , , ,

42 Responses to Qwiki: Stop Reading and Start Learning

  1. Kringon November 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    Hey there. I really liked your post on qwiki.

    I would really like to test it out myself. Do you have an invite? (as requested, i have subscribed to your newsletter, but it would be really great if you had an RSS feed so i could …..follow u. I only use RSS to follow different peoples blogs)

    Have a good one!

  2. Sathya November 8, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    Any benefits of registering ? I’ve been using Qwiki on & off basis for the past 2 weeks – I was able to go through existing “qwikis”, so just curious what does the invite entail you to.

    • Pallab De November 8, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

      Registered users can search for the Qwikis they are interested in, rather than just browsing through the Qwiki’s listed on the site. Also, after you view a qwiki, you will be presented with a selection of related qwiki’s to help you learn more on the topic of your interest.

      • Sathya November 8, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

        Ooh nice. Can I get an invite then ?

        • Pallab De November 9, 2010 at 8:18 pm #


          • Sathya November 9, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

            Thanks Pallab.

  3. Sathya November 8, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    PS: Just got a 404 on trying to submit the previous comment

    • Pallab De November 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

      Thanks for letting me. I will look into it.

  4. Rohit | Ipod Touch 4G November 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    Really Nice Service is Qwiki..as they said correctly Information becomes an Experience in future..I would also like to check out Qwiki i am already subscriber of you newsletter…

  5. Jasmine November 8, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    Qwiki looks really awesome although I was just browsing some of the existing Qwikis. However I guess you need a larger bandwidth to enjoy the experience?

  6. sell textbooks November 9, 2010 at 3:11 am #

    that is really cool. I had no clue. I am going to go and check it out now. I am interested to see what they have on my hometown.

  7. amn November 13, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    Can I get an invite? plzzzzzzzzz

  8. florian November 13, 2010 at 11:33 pm #

    Can you send me an invite please ?

  9. Srivathsan G.K November 20, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    can I get an invite now ? possible please ..

  10. Paul November 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    I don´t like this Methode of Information Experience, its just for lazy people.

  11. Christmas Decor Blog November 30, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

    This sounds very cool, can I also get an invite please? Let me know.

  12. Pansy Morrison December 24, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    Really Nice Service is Qwiki..as they said correctly Information becomes an Experience in future..I would also like to check out Qwiki i am already subscriber of you newsletter…

  13. Nicholas Montgomery January 8, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Could I have an invite please?

    Followed on twitter :)

  14. Anonysomus January 24, 2011 at 4:55 am #

    I would really like to test it out myself. :/

  15. sell textbooks January 24, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    I am now looking for and invite. I checked it out and really like the quickness and ease of use. Thanks!

  16. kadinvesaglik January 25, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    This sounds very cool 😉

  17. Komodo Dragon February 3, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    This is the first time I’m learning about Qwiki. It does sound like a really interesting concept and would be wonderful if they manage to go ahead and fulfill their objectives. It’s true that Wiki can contain a lot of perhaps not totally important info and information presented in the way Qwiki does it could be a lot more intuitive.

    • Dodge Neon SRT4 February 19, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

      How much have you learn’t with qwiki?

  18. p90x February 4, 2011 at 6:06 am #

    I love Qwiki so far. I just recently discovered it but it really has a ton of depth already. Thanks for spreading the news about it.

    – Robert

  19. sell textbooks February 7, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    Qwiki is quite awesome. I have really enjoyed learning what i need to know without having to dig through search engine results.

  20. Dodge Neon SRT4 February 14, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    Excellent Post Man. This is Quite Awesome.

  21. Dodge Neon SRT4 February 19, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    Qwiki is very much awesome. I love this one.

  22. Computer Virus February 23, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Most importantly for Android phone users, it will easily decode the QR Codes attached to Android apps that you find all over many of the Android websites online.

  23. Sourish @ Iphone 4 Jailbreak February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    i heard facebook co-founder eduardo saverin has contribution in qwiki aswell .. need to check it out

  24. Sales enablement February 25, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    I first time read about Qwiki.Its really looking nice to read about it,It would be very helpful in near future for information purpose.I wanna learn more about it.Please help me…

  25. sell textbooks February 25, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    I love Qwiki it one of my favorites,

  26. kadin sagliginiz March 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    I am now looking for and invite. 😉

  27. goguscun March 17, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Thanks for this video 😉

  28. sell textbooks April 19, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    I love Qwiki it has to be one of my best resources right now.

  29. fx15 May 18, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    I love Qwiki it has to be one of my best resources right now…

  30. Web Design LA June 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Informative article when will Qwiki enable it’s video embedding feature ?

  31. emobile_developer July 19, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    This is really excellent way of presenting information. I have seen M.K.Gandhi’s Qwiki and it is really good one. I liked the way of presenting information along with the related images. But the area where the topic content is displayed seems very small. Anyway another good thing is that this links to other good source of information like Wikipedia, Youtube, Google etc… One can easily share the topic on Facebook or Twitter if he/she wants to share. Thanks a lot for informing about this new great way of discovering information.


  1. Top Eight April Fools’ Day Jokes of 2011 | Pallab dot Net - April 2, 2011

    […] some pranks and jokes, then read on. I present to you my favourite April Fools Day jokes of 2011. Qwiki on April Fools’ Day8. Google (Gmail) – Can You Dance?Back in 2009, Opera fooled me with its […]

More in Featured Post, The Web, Web 2.0 (8 of 133 articles)