Wikipedia founder offers rival search engine to Google

LONDON - Jimmy Wales, the founder of online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, has unveiled a community-oriented search engine that allows members to rate results and improve relevancy and accuracy for other users.

Wikia Search, which launches today, has been developed by Wales to offer internet users an alternative to Google in the search market, and promises to give visitors a more transparent experience of how search results are compiled.

Wales, who founded Wikipedia as Nupedia in 2000, said Wikia Search would be a "completely freely licensed, open-source search engine" that would draw on technology used in social networking sites to create individual online profiles of previous search results.

The service will differ from Wikipedia in being an ad-driven commercial venture, while users will only be able to submit ratings on search results by signing up to Wikia Search.

However, its creators said it could take a minimum of two years for Wikia Search to start producing results that would make it a viable alternative to rival search engines, as its community-driven remit would take a while for it to build up entries.

Wales said: "Wikia's search engine concept is that of trusted user feedback from a community of users acting together in an open, transparent and public way.

"Of course, before we start we have no user feedback data, so the results are pretty bad. But we expect them to improve rapidly in coming weeks."

Wales said he was basing Wikia Search on "four organising principles" of search, which were transparency, community, privacy and quality, to create a more user responsive service that would form "the first draft of the future of search".

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