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Qwiki has finally launched to the public amidst much fanfare, with the daunting task of changing how we perceive and use a search engine. So how is Qwiki different from its current competitors? To sum it up – the search engine’s results are media rich and visually striking.

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Rather than be presented with a list of links and text, Qwiki pulls in content from sites like Wikipedia, YouTube, Google and Fotopedia, presenting users with images, videos and narrated text. Each entry is also accompanied by related search items.

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After the entry has been displayed, you can share it via Facebook, Email, or Twitter, generate an embed code for your blog, as well as look up additional information on other sites from which the information has been gathered.

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Qwiki, according to its founders, aims to be a computer generated fountain of knowledge, but that’s not to say that they’re not interested in contributions from users. If you feel that any given search result is lacking or inaccurate, you can put in your own two cents. Contribute images, videos and improve the text-to-speech quality by highlighting mispronounced words, without having to sign up.

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The interface is slick and visually stimulating, and with over 3 millions entries, there is no shortage on the kind of information you’ll find on the site, and the much needed crowd-sourcing will only make it a more powerful tool in the future.

That said, Qwiki has launched to mixed reviews. Some question the necessity of a service like this at all and its ability to take on search engine heavyweights like Google. While each search result is like a mini-documentary on any given topic, the information included barely scratches the surface. On the other hand, it’s received glowing reviews from most of the major tech media sources, already earning itself comparisons to Flipboard and Wikipedia.

If anything is to be said for Qwiki, it’s that it offers an entirely new way to search for information, and how that information is delivered. There is still much work to be done, but for a site in its alpha phase, it’s already pretty impressive, and they’ve just bagged $8 million in funding from investors, including Facebook’s co-founder Eduardo Saverin, YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim and Juniper co-founder Pradeep Sidhu.

What’s your take on Qwiki? Does it have what it takes to compete with Google or is nothing going to drag you away from your dependable search engine? Let us know in the comments.

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