Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has unveiled details of his company's community-developed open source search engine which aims to challenge the dominance of both Google and Yahoo!
Over the weekend, Wales’ commercial start-up Wikia purchased a web crawler platform called Grub from LookSmart and released it under an open source license. Grub is powered by volunteers who download the platform onto their computers, letting it run as a background process, thus reducing the need for Wikia to set up a web crawling network of its own.
According to Wales, the new service will provide an even better search experience than current search engines, by combining human input and computer-driven algorithms to handle ambiguous words with multiple meanings.
However, seeing the significant financial implications search engine ranking has for many companies, it’s likely that the user-driven search engine will be a constant target for spammers and search engine optimization hackers looking to manipulate search results.
The new search engine will be made available to the public by the end of this year, according to Wales. However, he clarified it would be for feedback purposes only.