For years the paradigm for search on the web was Google’s ten blue links. But yesterday New Yorker Doug Imbruce took home the top prize at TechCrunch Disrupt for his startup, Qwiki, which turns any web search into an interactive highlight reel.
Instead of presenting search results as simple text, Qwiki scours the web and creates a compelling documentary highlight about the query topic. So a search on Albert Einstein would return a short video with films, images, audio interviews and voiceover narration all about the legendary scientist. These storyboards, called Qwikis (quick wikis), are generated on the fly. Users can interact with any part of the presentation to drill down deeper into the source material.
Qwiki is similar in some ways to another hot startup, Flipboard, which got a ton of buzz after premiering on the iPad. Flipboard took users social stream — Twitter feed, Facebook, etc — and transformed all the media being shared there into a slick magazine format.
Imbruce told the audience at TechCrunch that he was inspired to create Qwiki by the science fiction fantasies of the recent Pixar film Wall-E. No word yet on whether a food-based weather control system adapted from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is in the works.
Jump to the 5:00 minute mark for Qwiki’s presentation.