The Big Fish Holiday Sale officially ended just a few minutes ago. But, don’t despair. It will return in the spring. Usually around Mother’s Day. Did you get any great games?
Now I want to turn your attention to a brand new app that helps you search Wikipedia in a brand new and amazing way. WikiLinks is a whole new way to do Wikipedia.
I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to Wikipedia. I use it a lot to do basic searches for things when I just don’t know where to begin. But, my grad school training ingrained in me the idea that for real and reliable research, Wikipedia is not the way to go.
However, with WikiLinks, I find myself going out of my way to think of things to search for on Wikipedia.
You can see in the photo above that WikiLinks looks nothing like any other Wikipedia app. From its circles of articles to its ability to search YouTube, WikiLinks is like nothing you’ve ever used.
Let’s start with the circles. When you do a search in WikiLinks (click the magnifying glass on the bottom left), you get a main article surrounded by related articles that branch out from the main article in a circle. If you click on 1 of the related articles, it branches out and is surrounded by related articles of its own. If you keep going, you get a map of circles like in the photo above.
When you click on the magnifying glass to do a search, the list of possible articles to view pops up like in this photo, and you just click on the 1 you want and a circle map begins.
To read any of the articles you see on the page of circles, you need only click on it and it appears on the right side of the screen in landscape format on the iPad. On the iPhone, it opens up on a screen of its own. That’s right. WikiLinks is universal. So, you can use this wonderful app on any iDevice.
You can also download everything on the screen for offline reading by clicking the down arrow on the top middle of the screen. You can set a maximum capacity for downloads in the Settings of the app so that the app can only take up so much room.
The Settings are accessed by clicking on the 3 dots button in the bottom right of the screen as seen in the photo above. This is also where you find the ability to print the page, post to Facebook, Tweet, email, and text the information you are looking at.
Clicking on the circle-map button in the bottom middle of the screen allots more space either for the circle map or for the information you are currently reading.
The arrow buttons on the top of the screen control your circle map. You can move forward and backward in the map you have made to undo and redo any mapping you have made.
The arrow buttons on the bottom of the screen control the information pages you are reading. They move you forward and backward for the information on the right side of the screen.
Now, let’s look at some of the extras that WikiLinks provides.
First is photos.
To see all of the photos related to the article you are reading, just click on the photo button at the top of the screen.
It brings up a screen like the photo at left. Each photo can be seen full-screen and in stunning detail. You can shuffle through all of the photos by clicking on other photos at the bottom of the screen to see them full-screen. It’s pretty awesome.
The number of photos availble is shown as a badge on the photo button.
But, the really neat thing for me is the YouTube integration.
I am a complete novice when it comes to YouTube. I really don’t know where to begin when using it.
WikiLinks makes it super easy to find and view YouTube videos related to the topic you are searching for. Just click the YouTube button on the top of the screen and a list of YouTube videos pops up, just like in this photo. The number of videos available is shown as a badge on the button.
But, there’s even more. Instead of taking you out of the app and to YouTube, WikiLinks lets you view the videos within the app itself. For me, this is just too cool!
WikiLinks is super customizable, as well. Click on the world button in the middle of the top of the screen to pick from about 50 different languages to view WikiLinks in.
In the Settings part of the app, you can choose to view the app in Full Screen or turn that off so you can see the clock and battery charge at the top of the screen.
You can also sign up to get an article of the day, change the font, hide reference links, have it show thumbnails, turn history on or off and search the history of what you have looked at, turn on low resolution images to save money when using mobile data plans, and set the limit for your offline cache of reading. You can also clear the cache at any time from this location.
Oh, I forgot to tell you about the dice at the top of the screen. Just click it to get a random article. Great for when you just want to use this unique and awesome app but don’t really have anything to search for.
Also on the top of the screen is a quick way to make the font bigger or smaller by clicking on the little or big letters. And, the magnifying glass on the top takes you to Google in Safari to do further searching on your subject.
Now, I covered and compared the big Wikipedia Reader apps in this article, but despite the prestige those apps have, I would choose to use WikiLinks over those apps any day (twice on Tuesday).
The only thing that WikiLinks is missing in my opinion is the ability to see an outline for each article. I like to be able to glance at the bullet points of the article and go to exactly the part I need from an outline, which is something that most other Wikipedia apps offer. But, this is such a minor point in comparison to everything else that WikiLinks gets right that I even hesitated to mention it.
WikiLinks is a brand new app, so I can’t wait to see what it adds in the future.
Bottom line: If you enjoy visual design and searcing, WikiLinks is going to become 1 of your favorite apps. If you are a YouTube fan, WikiLinks is definitely for you. And, if you just need a beautiful, universal, and powerful Wikipedia search app, WikiLinks is the only way to go.
That’s it for me today. Until later, …