Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia, is set to launch an internet search engine with amazon.com that he hopes will become a rival to Google and Yahoo!
Mr Wales has begun working on a search engine that exploits the same user-based technology as his open-access encyclopaedia, which was launched in 2003.
The project has been dubbed Wikiasari — a combination of wiki, the Hawaiian word for quick, and asari, which is Japanese for “rummaging search”.
Mr Wales told The Times that he was planning to develop a commercial version of the search engine through Wikia Inc, his for-profit company, with a provisional launch date in the first quarter of next year.
Earlier this year he secured multimillion-dollar funding from amazon.com and a separate cash injection from a group of Silicon Valley financiers to finance projects at Wikia.
However, it is understood that amazon has also collaborated with Mr Wales on the search engine project and is expected to lend its support to the venture in the future.
Mr Wales, a 40-year-old former options trader, believes that, as the popularity of Google has grown, obvious flaws in its search engine technology have become apparent.
“Google is very good at many types of search, but in many instances it produces nothing but spam and useless crap. Try searching for the term ‘Tampa hotels’, for example, and you will not get any useful results,” he said.
Spammers and commercial ventures are also learning how to manipulate Google’s computer-based search, he added.
Mr Wales believes that Google’s computer-based algorithmic search program is no match for the editorial judgment of humans.
Google searches are conducted using an algorithm that calculates how many other websites are linked to a certain site, which in turn gives the material found by the search a ranking. Therefore, the first result in any Google search is the website that has the most links pointing to it.
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