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February 12, 2011

Qwiki.com — Multimedia encyclopedia goes live

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Excerpts from Melissa Bell's February 6, 2011 Washington Post review follow.

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Picture a science-fiction movie, the Web site founder said: In some distant future, the intrepid extraterrestrial hero reaches for his computer and types in a question: "What is Earth?" Pictures flip across the screen, faster and faster, until the machine pauses on an image of a blue-and-green planet. The camera pans in as the planet starts to rotate. A soothing, female voice starts speaking: "Earth is the third planet from the sun . . . "

This science-fiction future "starts right here, in this room today," Doug Imbruce told the audience at a technology conference and start-up competition sponsored by Tech Crunch last fall. Then Imbruce launched into a pitch of his new site, Qwiki.com, intriguingly subtitled "the Information Experience."

A multimedia encyclopedia, Qwiki.com combines the best of both science and art, Imbruce went on to say. The science refers to Qwiki's search engine, which crawls through the Internet, pulling together text, videos and photographs of whatever search term is entered. The art? Well, it was obvious.

The judges were impressed, awarding Qwiki the top prize for a start-up. Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim liked Qwiki so much that they invested $8 million in the project in January. The Web site opened to the general public last week riding high on the news of the investment.

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1

Fair warning: there goes the day.

February 12, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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