Feeds

Wikia snatches open search software from LookSmart

Will deliver Grub to mankind. Or whatever

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

OSCON Wikia, the latest effort from Wikipedia co-founder Jimbo Wales, has bought the distributed search software Grub from LookSmart for an undisclosed sum and open sourced it.

Wales, speaking here at OSCON, announced the move during a morning speech. He pitched Grub as being analogous to Seti@home in that users run the client software in the background on their PCs. Grub then indexes URLs and sends the information back to centralized servers. The software had languished under the stewardship of Looksmart, and Wales now hopes to make it a core piece of Wikia.

For the unfamiliar, Wikia is an attempt to create an open source rival to Yahoo!, Google or Microsoft.

"In search, we have a handful of proprietary places," Wales said, during his keynote. "They control the vast majority of traffic on the internet.

"Those search results are an editorial statement even if they are driven by an algorithm. We really have no idea how they are doing it. That process is kept deliberately secret."

So, Wikia will deliver open source algorithms to developers and work to create an open index of the internet. If the project ends up resembling Wikipedia, we don't hold out much hope of helpful search results.

"Together, we can all kick Google's ass," Wales said.

Easy, Jimbo.

From where we sit, an open source search engine that turned up good results and was actually used by lots of people could end up as a very good thing. Google, in particular, has seized too much power with its vast knowledge of the world's desires. In addition, the company has not proven very able at protecting privacy on a satisfactory level.

Would Wikia be a better organization to hold such power just because its code was open? Not really, unless guarantees are made around the immediate destruction of search logs and the like.

You can find very little on Grub here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.