A kiosk (in Persian كوشك Kushk, Turkish köşk; French kiosque) is a small, separated garden pavilion open on some or all sides. Kiosks are common since the 13th century in Persia, India and in the Ottoman Empire. In Istanbul there are many kiosks in and around the Topkapi Palace. The design of the Turkish kiosks is frequently polygonal or square. During the 18th century, Turkish influenses in Europe established the kiosk as an important element of European gardens. The word is of Persian origin.
In modern English, a kiosk may refer to a stall set up in a public place where one can obtain information, e.g., tourist information. The information may be provided by a human or by a computer. In the latter case, the data may be stored locally (e.g. on CD-ROM) or accessed via a network using some kind of distributed information retreival system such as Gopher or the World-Wide Web.
Modern kiosks are built as a result of technology integration. The kiosk's functions can be diverse. For examples, it can be used for printing photos as you insert your memory card, conducting e-transaction as you type in your utility bill's account number, or even collecting cash for exchange of a mechandise. Kiosks are visible around the globe. The visibility is particularly high in Japan where the number of vending machines (or more precisely an Internet connected kiosks) are probably exceeding the citizen population. Kiosks can be customized purposefully to fit special needs. Components may include a coin hopper, a bill acceptor, a card reader, a thermal printer and so on. The applications are also unlimited. Several modern countries have already implemented nation-wide installation of kiosks. One example was in UK where one single application, i.e. for empolyment seeking purpose, has involved thousands of kiosks being installed nation-wide. There are still many other examples.