It's almost the night before Christmas, and there's definitely more than a mouse stirring in the world of Search. The Times from the UK reports:
"Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia, is set to launch an internet search engine with amazon.com that he hopes will become a rival to Google and Yahoo!
Mr Wales has begun working on a search engine that exploits the same user-based technology as his open-access encyclopaedia, which was launched in 2003.
The project has been dubbed Wikiasari — a combination of wiki, the Hawaiian word for quick, and asari, which is Japanese for “rummaging search”.
Mr Wales told The Times that he was planning to develop a commercial version of the search engine through Wikia Inc, his for-profit company, with a provisional launch date in the first quarter of next year."
Wikipedia is already the second source I go for perhaps half of my searches. It's not a stretch to see the service powering a separate, for profit, Search engine.
And therein may lie the rub.
The efforts of millions power the not-for profit Wikipedia today. To have that service then provide the starter fuel for the "for-profit" Wikiasari is an interesting twist.
One can say that Google does no different, in that the web-page linking of hundreds of millions powers the algorithmic, definitely "for-profit" Google Search.
That issue aside, the other fascinating aspect of this is that it potentially brings people more directly back into the search equation, bringing the history of search full circle, what with Yahoo! having started as a people-driven search directory in the mid-nineties.
TechCrunch has a good screen shot of the new service (we hope). And it's what you'd expect as a start.
Approximately a third of the page has been allocated to Wikipedia-driven search, ad-search driven messages, and additional, presumarly people-powered search results.
"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."
Can't wait for 2007.