Saturday, January 19, 2008

Search Wikia Makes Its Debut

The new dashboard search box of Is is an open source search engine and results are known as "wikis."

Used to be, back in the 90's, that every other week a new search engine was announced. Many of them were aggregating other search results then parsing them out, so you shouldn't count those. Especially since they were often created by university students who were querying other university student web search sites.

Then they got a little more serious and you would choose from the Altavistas and the Excites. The University of Washington had a nice little web search project from one of its grad students, Brian Pinkerton, by the name of Webcrawler. It ended up getting bought by AOL.

Then Yahoo struck and made its mark. Then Google struck and made its mark. MSN is out there as well. All continue to try and improve their technology. Yahoo recently debuted some predictive hint features in its drop down box with topic suggestions, and Google just announced its intent to search for text within images.

You would think that we might have settled into a three or so search market, so it is a bit of a surprise to see a new engine enter the market.

Search Wikia, a search engine from and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales (pictured on left), made its official debut last week. It is an an open-source, community-driven effort and hopes that this will be enough of a distinction to become a player. This was also a note in one of The New Scientist "Technology" blog's bold predictions for 2008 which has since been met with some push back.

So what are Wikia?

"A wiki is a database of pages which visitors can edit live."

The building blocks of wikis are the "comments" from visitors.

You can generally edit a page in real time, search the wiki's content, and view updates since your last visit. In a "moderated wiki," wiki owners review comments before addition to the main body of a topic.

Additional features can include calendar sharing, live AV conferencing, RSS feeds and more.

A wiki makes it easy to swap ideas and information on projects--whether for a family vacation or a complex business enterprise.

A wiki opens the door to experts and shy silent types alike, increasing creativity, expertise, and productivity all around.

Wikis end the waste of ricocheting emails and communication breakdowns--wikis literally get everyone "on the same page."

Are you building a freely editable and public wiki, or do you need to be conscious of privacy and security in your enterprise? There can also be issues of legal liability and risk to reputation, particularly if you publish to the web. Options such as a moderated wiki format, user agreements, and locking some pages from public view can offer protection

Wikia are wiki communities creating free content with the MediaWiki software. These are hosted for free by Wikia, Inc., the company which runs the project. Anyone is free to start a new Wikia in accordance with the Wikia creation policy and terms of use. Contribute and be part of this open source engine at Wikia.Com

(compiled by Jay Fermin ppp-usa)