Qwiki & PostPost – Two Great Consumption Tools

I have been playing around with a couple of web tools and thought I might share with the class. Both offer filters, or perhaps lenses, for content with a focus on presentation.

The first one is Qwiki, a tool that has been in closed alpha testing for a while, but has just been released to the public. Qwiki bills itself as a multi-media search engine, but I see it as more of a visually stunning wiki tool. Visit Qwiki and you will find the usual search box. A nice touch – suggested results show below your typed term offering you options. Qwiki includes more than 3 million reference terms, mostly nouns such as people, places, and things. Enter a term and receive an “information experience” – a selection of videos, photographs, maps, and more, as well as links to related topics. You get a narration and scrolling text of the “answer” to your query running throughout the video / slideshow. Share the Qwiki you happen to be viewing via social media links, email it, or embed it in another site. The wiki part for me was being prompted via button at the top to “improve” the Qwiki, such as suggesting video and images that might go with the subject matter. Combining user-participation with such a stunning experience is intriguing. It is SO science fiction. While Qwiki might have limited appeal now, due to its smallish database, imagine its impact when it can access a database of information the size of Wikipedia. And, consider “reading” the morning news on your smartphone with a Qwiki interface. Businesses and professionasl should run and not walk to Qwiki to develop their own brand – what a great way to leverage web presence in an information environment. Not so far-fetched and definitely appealing.

The second is PostPost – a social newspaper for Facebook users. Do you like Flipboard? Do you like Facebook? Then you will probably enjoy PostPost. The “real time” social newspaper is Web-based. Simply log in with your Facebook credentials, authorize the free app, wait a moment, and get a really nice magazine of your friends’ Facebook content. The page will show links, photos, and videos, offering an experience akin to paper.li’s treatment of Twitter. This is meant to serve as a real-time layout, with intelligent grouping of similar content, making it easier to read and share. You can control the experience by moving content between sections and change the size of the newspaper. Filter and block what you don’t want to see and emphasize what you do want to see. A real boon for large friend lists or overactive sharers.

Either way you slice it, making content more visually appealing and stimulating will improve retention and enhance consumption. Both Qwiki and PostPost are aiming to do just that. Check it out and check back in with your comments!

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iCurrent: Another Super-Cool Custom News Tool

I am all about having the relevant information brought to me, because I am a lazy reader at heart. Always looking for that virtual newspaper boy or girl, slamming that e-paper at my front door. Enter iCurrent – a customizable “front page” with content from newspapers, blogs, magazines and web sites tuned to your interests. From the site:

Think of iCurrent as a newspaper published constantly just for you. It delivers the latest news and information for your interests

Simply enter as many of your interests as you wish, and immediate get a “front page” showing those interests in newspaper format. Hover over the title and see arrows that enable you to push the subject matter up or down. In four clicks, I was able to tailor my “search” interest to completely omit any missing persons news. “Channels” offer news only about your specific interests. Create new channels by surfing on the site. Follow popular topics and view channels crafted by iChannel’s editors. You can even share your channels with friends.

How does it work? Let iCurrent explain:

iCurrent is based on sophisticated indexing technology that harvests and organizes Internet content and matches newly found articles to your interests, constantly. Our harvester aggregates articles from thousands of newspapers, magazines, blogs, and websites. To make it easy for you to have a rich and varied set of channels, our curators and users share thousands of content channels across a wide range of interests.

Sources, Channels, Front Page

It just rocks. Give it a try.

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