Wikiasari : The Answer for Search?

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WikiaEven as search becomes all-but-synonymous with the Internet for many users, there’s a paradoxical and growing sense that it’s failing. We have incredibly high expectations for search but that’s partly because it has been very successful to date. Every quarter or so it seems a new, would-be David comes out to challenge Googliath.

The newest one is Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales, who is planning to launch a Wiki-based search engine called “Wikiasari.” Here’s his public statement on the motivation for and foundations of the project:

“Search is part of the fundamental infrastructure of the Internet. And, it is currently broken.

Why is it broken? 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. Here, we will change all that.

There have been some amazing projects in recent years which have matured now to the point that a new alternative is possible. Wikia is funding and supporting the development of something radically new.

Nutch and Lucene and some other projects now provide the background infrastructure that we need to generate a new kind of search engine, which relies on human intelligence to do what algorithms cannot. Just as Wikipedia revolutionized how we think about knowledge and the encyclopedia, we have a chance now to revolutionize how we think about search.

Help me out, spread the word. 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.

Wikipedia is an amazing success story that nobody could or would have predicted. So maybe Wikiasari holds the same promise but my sense is that it will have to look and act quite different from Google or Yahoo! to gain usage, but at the same time be as simple to use.

Some would argue that Wikipedia has already “jumped the shark” in terms of expanding to cover trivia and celebritites.

Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.

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