Wikiasari, an Open, Wiki-based Search Engine

The reports that Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia wants to build and open, wiki-based web search engine to rival Google. The search engine will be called Wikiasari — a combination of wiki, the Hawaiian word for quick, and asari, which is Japanese for “rummaging search”.

At the current project page, Wales explains his motivations:

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 accountability, lack of transparency.

And he offers his solution:

“Essentially, if you consider one of the basic tasks of a search engine, it is to make a decision: ‘this page is good, this page sucks’,” Mr Wales said. “Computers are notoriously bad at making such judgments, so algorithmic search has to go about it in a roundabout way.

“But we have a really great method for doing that ourselves,” he added. “We just look at the page. It usually only takes a second to figure out if the page is good, so the key here is building a community of trust that can do that.”

Mr Wales believes that the reputation already fostered by his Wikipedia community and the transparency of his technology will build sufficient trust in his search engine to bring in advertising revenue and make the Wikiasari venture profitable.

It will be very interesting to see where this leads…

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