Review: Qwiki – jazzed up Wikipedia, but does it make it better?


Qwiki is a web service that aims to make Wikipedia more exciting. What? – I hear you say.. how could all those paragraphs of nerdy detail in Times New Roman be made more interesting?

Well, the new site has decided to jazz it up with pictures, videos and best of all – a strange female robot voice that reads out the introduction to each entry in an American accent. We love that.

Good Things
1) It’s colourful, picture centric: good for visual topics.

2) Listening to information instead of reading it is a nice change

3) Qwiki provides a nice general intro to the topic which seems pretty accurate.

Frustrating Things
1) In visual and spoken presentations always with there’s always less information than written ones, so

2) If I want to find out something specific like what year a book was published in, I have to go through the whole presentation hoping that that information will come up. And it probably won’t. On many occasions a quick

3) It sometimes pulls random things which aren’t relevant. For example when discussing the Market Square in a particular town it brings up a picture of a market square, but not the one in the town in question.

4) Like Wikipedia itself, it’s not always bang up to date. So if a topic is in the news for some reason, take Spider Girl for example, the story that got it into the news won’t always be featured in the introduction.

5) The American woman doing the auto-speak thing gets it wrong sometimes. Ask her to say “borough” for jokes, that word causes particular problems. It’s kinda funny, but also kinda hard to understand.

Well I will admit it was nice sitting back and listening to a little presentation about what I was interested in. But this would only be useful for a general topic which I wanted a low-attention introduction to. If you want detail and if you want it fast, then sitting back for a 3 minute presentation is not going to be very helpful. To be honest, I don’t see myself using this very much.

They have feedback for each presentation so in theory, these will improve over time..

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Anna Leach

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