Our Rating: 70 /100 ( )
Discover Wikipedia iPad App
Ever since Wikipedia gave open access through it’s API, a number of developers have taken advantage of the wealth of Wikipedia information and transformed their ideas into a number of unique Wikipedia-powered apps. Wikipanion took the look and feel of the Wikipedia website and turned it into an iPad app. Through Wikihood, the app utilizes your geographic location to pull in popular landmark information, history, and ties to famous people linked to your locale through Wikipedia. Released earlier this week, the Discover Wikipedia iPad App by Cooliris sets out to turn Wikipedia into a fully interactive magazine.
The result is an iPad app loaded with gestures, magazine styled design, and free flowing organization to flip through Wikipedia articles. Most gestures on the app are simple. For instance, slide down to open the article search bar. Slide up to list your recently viewed articles. While sliding from side to slide flips through Wikipedia articles as you would in a magazine. However, less intuitive gestures include having to shake the iPad (clearly not as easy as shaking an iPhone) to change the featured article on the splash homepage.
While the developers at Cooliris made a valiant effort in turning Wikipedia into a Flipboard-like magazine, the app falls a few feet short. To pull article information, Cooliris makes live API calls to the Wikipedia servers each time you load or search for an article. While Wikipanion and Wikihood both work in the same way, the way the Discover app is set up seems to make loading articles take a significantly longer time to load. While loading time is slight, the wait is noticeable.
In terms of actual Wikipedia content, the magazine flow and design doesn’t serve Wikipedia content in any better way than what’s available elsewhere. Usability and reading actual articles is still much more intuitive or simple at the Wikipedia site loaded on Safari or through the Wikipanion app.
Discover is a nice alternative way to read Wikipedia and offers a visually new way to browse Wikipedia. However, the design is not quite strong enough to usurp the mighty Wikipedia website quite yet. Definitely still worth a download, check out Discover at the iTunes App Store.