Wikia search engine goes live

Wikia Search Alpha

Just like Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia written and maintained by a volunteer group of contributors and collaborators, Wikia Search is a freely-licensed (open source) search engine.

It relies on the same concept of "trusted user feedback from a community of users acting together in an open, transparent, public way," said a launch statement on its homepage, adding that the future of internet search must be based on openness and collaboration, the protection of privacy and better quality search results.

But just like Wikipedia, it is not expected to start delivering the quality of search results it aspires to until it has built up its contributing user and development community.

Registering participants can improve and extend the search software itself, using open application programming interfaces (APIs) and bug reporting facilities, as well as suggest pages for the index and evaluate and rate search results.

They will get access to a social networking environment, which includes lists of friends and updates on their activities, photo uploading and profile building features.

Wikia Search users will be presented with a 'mini article' at the top of the results list, which could take the form of a variety of media, including a photo, text definition or external link, that best matches the search term.

Below the 'mini article' will be a list of results that users can rank in terms of quality. But the numbers of indexed pages (between 50 and 100 million) will be considerably less than the billions of Google, Yahoo and for now.

By allowing users to rank each individual search result, the search algorithms used to create results can be improved to provide more accurate results. While the community and administrators will be on hand to identify those abusing the system.

Wikia Search will only include English-language websites at first, but support for more languages is planned as the project grows, as are image and news search tabs.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.