Qwiki is a new iOS app from the company of the same name. When launched back in 2010, Qwiki was a video search engine, then it became a video publishing platform, and now it has relaunched once again, this time with its eye on the currently-popular mobile-social video craze. The new app is available now as a free download from the App Store, with no additional in-app purchases. It is currently featured in the New & Noteworthy section of the App Store front page. An Android version is set to follow in a few months.
The focus of Qwiki’s new app is on “turning memories into movies.” This can be achieved in one of two ways. In Automatic mode, its fully-automated system picks a selection of photos and videos from an individual day and edits them together into a short video accompanied by a randomly-chosen track from the device’s music library. Captions are added to the video including the date, time of day and location information where available, and the end result can be edited and tweaked with new captions, music and Instagram-esque visual filters before publishing. In Manual mode, meanwhile, users can pick a selection of any media on their device or in their iCloud Photo Stream and then customize the video in the same manner.
Once the video has been completed, the user may share it online by adding a title and description, which may include hashtags. Users may also tag the video with a location and the presence of their Qwiki or Facebook friends, then the video may be shared via Facebook, Twitter and email as well as Qwiki’s proprietary network. Optionally, the user may elect to make the video private rather than have it show up in the public streams. When shared on Facebook, only the video and its title are shared, not the description, but the video can be played directly from either Timeline or News Feed.
Besides creating new videos, users may browse the creations of other video makers in the app’s built-in Instagram-style social network. Individual videos may be Liked and commented on, and individual users followed as desired. The app features a search facility along with a list of trending hashtags and a feed of popular users’ work to aid with discovery.
Qwiki is a pretty good app that makes fun, attractive videos — though in its automatic mode it does seem somewhat prone to repeating content over and over several times if there is not much available for the selected day. The ability to use songs from the user’s own music library is a welcome one, though it may raise some copyright issues in the future. The built-in social network is largely unnecessary but an expected feature in apps of this nature these days, and it certainly doesn’t get in the way, and sharing to other networks appears to work well — though it would be better if Facebook support also exported the description information as well as just the video.
Qwiki has some potential, then, but the major concern with it is that the currently-fashionable mobile-social video sharing app craze is becoming an increasingly overcrowded market every day right now. The ease with which a video can be created (and a custom soundtrack added) certainly makes Qwiki an attractive option, but there aren’t really enough distinguishing features to make Qwiki really stand out right now. As such, it’s entirely possible that it will find itself struggling in a sea of very similar apps. It’s relatively early days in the quest to become “the Instagram of video,” though, and it remains to be seen which app will capture the masses’ imagination in the long term.
Qwiki currently reports a rank of No. 391 in the Top Free iPad Reference Apps chart, though this ranking is based on the old video-discovery version of the app which is now defunct. The front-page appearance of the new app on the iTunes App Store will doubtless help it gain some traction in the short term, but whether it will maintain users’ interest over time is by no means certain right now. You can follow its progress over time with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.