Ian Garrick Mason: I’d like to introduce Erin Bury, who will be contributing to the SCOPE Magazine blog by discovering and presenting start-up companies from around the world who are basing their businesses on great new ideas. Erin is the community manager for the entrepreneurial collaboration firm Sprouter (you can read my brief profile of the company here); she also writes on technology for blogTO, and on social media and communications at her own blog, Random Musings.
Erin writes: Despite the many innovations we’ve seen in the past few years in the online world one aspect of it has remained relatively stagnant: search. Regardless of what you’re searching for, the process is the same. Type your search term into a search engine (usually Google), and then wade through the search results, one at a time. For users hoping for more than just silos of information on different websites, Wikipedia has emerged to offer a one-stop “curated” (i.e. collected and reviewed by human beings) search destination powered by the contributions of editors around the world.
One company is hoping to improve the search process even further by turning it into an “information experience.” Startup Qwiki uses storytelling as a way to inform users about a search term, returning a collection of results comprised of narration, text, video, photos, and more — in this way combining the machine-powered efficiency of Google with the context of Wikipedia, plus some multimedia trimmings. Based in Silicon Valley and founded by Doug Imbruce and Louis Monier (formerly the founder of search engine AltaVista), Qwiki recently won the TechCrunch Disrupt startup competition in San Francisco, and is currently in private alpha testing — you can request an invitation to participate through their website.