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You know, I'm not that big of fan of Wikipedia. I mean I guess for the listings that are accurate it's ok, but I guess what I'm not a fan of is the way that Wikipedia listings often dominate search results. When I perform a search in Google, very rarely are Wikipedia listings the most relevant result for me.
So I was a little curious about reports today that state that the creator of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, is launching a new Web Search Tool called Wikia. Wikia is a collection of freely-hosted ad-supported wiki communities using the Open Source MediaWiki software. According to Business Week:
Wikia Search debuts Jan. 7, the result of more than a year of development (BusinessWeek.com, 12/27/06) and $14 million in funding from Amazon.com (AMZN), venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners, and a who's who of angel investors including Netscape Communications co-founder Marc Andreesen, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and Lotus Development founder and Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder Mitch Kapor. The search engine is being launched by Wikia, a San Mateo (Calif.) for-profit that evolved from a company Wales co-founded in 2004.
While I like the idea of some fresh new competition for Google, I'm not so sure Wikia Search is the one to take market share away from Google. Frankly I'd rather see ASK.com gain market share from Yahoo, Live Search or Google. The one interesting thing about Wikia Search is that it puts a large portion of control in the hands of the users. So this means that community feedback is what will shape the results of any given search. This doesn't necessary improve the relevancy of the results. We'll have to see how this rolls out and if users will accept Wikia Search. Could this be the new Google? Well in a word ... no, but it does give users an alternative to the status quo.
Official Site of Wikia PC World of Wikia Search
Wikia Search Is A Complete Letdown
Wikia announces open-source search engine - from San Jose Mercury News