Feeds

Wikia snatches open search software from LookSmart

Will deliver Grub to mankind. Or whatever

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
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.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?