Possible Google rival to be launched soon

Possible Google rival to be launched soon

The launch of a new search site, called Wikia Search, is planned for the 7th January 2008.

According to its creators those searching topics will be able to rank search results using open-source software in order to improve the filtering of search results. The idea is to introduce transparency into the search engine process.

However Google supporters argue it will allow humans to manipulate the search process and that computer generated results are the fairest way to provide people with information.

Wikia Search could threaten Google’s hegemony but the new community driven search engine will take time to evolve, just as Wikipedia took time to build up its entries.

Blogger Tim Anderson, said Wikia will be an interesting experiment. “The first key question is whether a transparent ranking algorithm will be resistant to attack by spammers. The second is how effectively Wikia can apply community intelligence to search results.”

Anderson added that although Wikia is “fascinating,” its 2008 search share will be tiny.

Jimmy Wales, Wikia co-founder, announced the public launch on the 24th December 2007, in an email to the Wikia mailing list, as well as stating the availability of pre-alpha invites. “We want to run over the system with help from people to complain about what is broken,” Wales said.

In an email on the 31st December 2007, Wales added, “I am sending out a few invites each day, and we are responding rapidly to feedback. The pace of invites will accelerate in the next few days.”

The news of the launch comes as Google is testing its own version of Wikipedia, the knol project, which might dampen Wales’s method of encouraging people to contribute knowledge.

The knoll project functions similar to Wikipedia but with a difference that takes account of frequent Wiki criticisms. Knols, unlike Wiki entries, will allow authors to build up a professional reputation by preventing articles from being edited by participants unknown to the author.