Saturday, 4 April 2009

Goodbye Encarta, you'll be missed

Microsoft has announced that at the end of this year it is going to drop Encarta, its electronic encylopedia.

While I can see this is no surprise with the rise and rise of Wikipedia, with vastly more entries than any conventional encyclopedia could have, it's still sad.

I can remember reviewing Encarta when it first came out - it was a breath of fresh air. At the time encylopedias were big, unfriendly books or even shelves full of books. Encarta was an affordable, easy to use CD-ROM with a sexy user interface that from the very beginning delivered much more than a paper encylopedia could, and over just a few years went from being a novelty to an essential research tool. Before the web had significant content, those CD-ROMs were like gold.

Microsoft is often criticized for me-too developments, but Encarta was a real example of leading the pack with a superb product.

Farewell, Encarta. Already you are fading as a memory, but you'll be missed.

1 comment:

  1. Oh no! Not Encarta! I must admit, I had forgotten all about it (doh) but now that I'm reminded, we did use to use it constantly and it was a life saver. An example of a good thing that Microsoft (otherwise known as the evil empire) has done.