Cloudy days for searching?
In the competition for online search dominance, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has unveiled a new way to search the web in Search Wikia. For a full description of this revelation you may want to read the PC World article from Monday, January 7th.
For those who don’t know, Wikia is a socially driven collection of topic based community wikis. Or in layman’s terms–people talking about the same thing and editing the information about that thing in a shared web site. About Wikia.
The search side of Wikia is meant to remain true to the aims of open-source and provide free information, controlled by the people who know it best. It also rests on the concept of user generated feedback being a force in crafting the content; thereby removing the reins of some proprietary company (insert corporate name here: Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.) The concept is sound but requires quite a bit of input before any acknowledgeable results are seen.
The results are displayed with a “mini-article” at the top, if there is one created. (Though they seem to frown on personal blogs and individual mini-articles.) In essence, the “mini-article” is a light version of a Wikipedia entry and may be edited by those associated or with some factual knowledge. The information also may contain images, which can be uploaded and applied by individuals. To the right a result box for people matching your search terms appears. This information is generated through the Wikia profiles you create in order to use the system to its fullest. For instance, if someone typed in Google as a search term, then the “People matching “google” results may include a programmer who works at Google or maybe someone who really loves GoogleMaps, and put that in their profile.
I really like the social aspect being brought into the mix, but fear that it will only get so far as it takes so much to get input from the public at large. Of course all great concepts have to start somewhere, so if you have the time give it a whirl and see what you think.
I did want to mention how much this move reminds me of the Google Knol project and the possibilities I hinted at for Google searching with Knol. (See my other post here.)