Monday, December 24, 2007

Wikia To Let People Search The Web In Jan 2008

Wikia just launched a search engine in Beta (actually the founder said pre-alpha) yesterday. You can write an email and get an invite to Wikia Search. The announcement was made on the mailing list. Wikia had promised a search in 2007 and technically just 5 days are left for 2007 to end. So they have just met the deadline by an inch. Wikia Search is expected to publicly launch on January 7th, 2008.

Wikia is known for Wikipedia and founder Jimmy Wales said in December 2006 that he would be launching a web search engine as a competitor to Google. He had earlier said that Google's search engine shows too many incorrect results and in his words, "spam" results. This he wants to rectify with Wikia Search which will be using the Grub! web crawler technology. The following is from the WikiaSearch website about the future of Internet Search and Goals of Wikia Search:

Our Four Organizing Principles (TCQP) - the future of Internet Search must be based on:

  • 1. Transparency - Openness in how the systems and algorithms operate, both in the form of open source licenses and open content + APIs.
  • 2. Community - Everyone is able to contribute in some way (as individuals or entire organizations), strong social and community focus.
  • 3. Quality - Significantly improve the relevancy and accuracy of search results and the searching experience.
  • 4. Privacy - Must be protected, do not store or transmit any identifying data.

Active areas of focus:

  • Social Lab - sources for URL social reputation, experiments in wiki-style social ranking.
  • Distributed Lab - projects focused on distributed computing, crawling, and indexing. Grub!
  • Semantic Lab - Natural Language Processing, Text Categorization.
  • Standards Lab - formats and protocols to build interoperable search technologies.

I somewhat agree that PageRank and Google's current search doesn't currently work best, but the new Blog search and News search are starting to change it for the good. Infact, Google Knol seems to be a response to Wikia Search from Google which will be relevant and more related to giving users data for the query rather than plain links.

Wikia has just recently launched OpenServing, which is free webhosting for Wikis. Its a useful service and I think Wikis have got quite popular for information sharing on collaborative projects that are done online. OpenServing and Wikia Search and so much like Knol and Blogger that it seems that Wikia and Google are on a head-on collision very soon.

Although somewhat controversial, I have found wikipedia to be a very useful tool. And I hope that Jimmy will be able to bring some competition to the search market. It will surely help improve the condition of the current web searching.

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