Back in April, I blogged on Linked Data. Linked Data advances the notion of “Web” searchability, whereby databases “talk” to each other so that more complex answers can be obtained. (E.g., which football players went to the University of Texas, Austin and played for the Dallas Cowboys as cornerback?)
A couple of weeks ago, I read an article in Newsweek on Qwiki. It won the TechCrunch Disrupt award this year and I think it’s well deserved. It advances searchability in another direction.
Currently in Alpha (you have to apply or I can invite you to join), there are a few (expected) bumps, but what they’ve done is pretty amazing. Each “video” pulls together information from different Web sources on a given topic; over time it’ll include more sources. The video talks and shows corresponding pictures to help explain the who, what, and where. At the end of the video, it recommends other, related videos to watch.
I explored Los Angeles, my hometown, and learned a few new things about our weather patterns. Want to see a comic book example? View the video below.
With this advancement, the Internet opens up the world to people in new ways. Certainly, if I were planning a vacation to a new city, a resource like this would be useful. But imagine its potential for interactive learning, for people who aren’t as computer savvy, for people with motor or visual impairments, etc.
I’m very excited by this advancement and look forward to what’s next. It also makes me a little sad that my grandfather is no longer with us: if he thought a fax machine was nifty, he would have loved this!!
Let me know if you’d like me to send you an invite.