Search Wikia Will Drive By Users
The same wisdom of crowds that has propelled Wikipedia to prominence could be the key to remaking the search engine; we have to admit that it's an idea we've seen already.
In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, Wikipedia has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Brittanica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects.
First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words Don't Panic inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.
-- with sincere apologies to Douglas Adams
With plenty of blogosphere discussion about Search Wikia, the new project from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, it may be instructive to talk briefly about what it isn't first.
It's not Wikipedia.
It isn't a project for Amazon.com, although Jeff Bezos' company is an investor in Search Wikia's backing company, Wikia Inc.
The final version won't be called Wikiasari, which was the name of a different project.
No one has seen a screenshot of Search Wikia, no matter what TechCrunch says.
What it is, or rather will be if Wales can make it happen, will be a search engine where content has been vetted by users as an alternative to conventional web search. Spread the word, Wales has asked:
I am looking for people to continue the development of a wiki-inspired search engine. Specifically community members who would like to help build people-powered search results and developers to help us build an open-source alternative for web search.
Current web search is broken, according to Wales. "It is broken for the same reason that proprietary software is always broken: lack of freedom, lack of community, lack of accountability, lack of transparency."
The idea interests us because we've seen a similar approach developed practically in our backyard, online at PreFound.com. PreFound does search with a social approach, incorporating tagging and sharing with search results that others have already found online.
I asked Steve Mansfield, PreFound's CEO, for his thoughts on Search Wikia and Wales' approach. He was pleased to share his perspective, presented here:
It's exciting to see Wales and the Wiki people getting involved in Search. For the first time, people are saying Social Search can compete with Google and that is a critical mind-shift compared to what the media has been saying over the last year.
It's hard to say if it will be competitive model-wise with PreFound or other models like Wink, but just the attention this announcement is getting in the media and therefore a wider audience is fantastic for the Social Search genre. Partnering with Amazon was also great for marketing and technological reasons.
Today, searches for many topics on sites like Google return Wikipedia entries very high in the search results. In the future, perhaps Search Wikia will draw results that others have found on Google and elsewhere instead.
Tag: Search Wikia
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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.
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