Feeds

Wikia snatches open search software from LookSmart

Will deliver Grub to mankind. Or whatever

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.