Feeds

Wikia unsheathes antidote to 'unhealthy' Google

Jimbo: 'I am your spiritual leader'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales has brought the Wikipedia ethos to his very own internet search engine. But he insists it will be far more trustworthy than search sites offered by Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft.

Today, Jimbo's for-profit Wikia operation takes the wraps off a beta version of Wikia Search, a search engine that allows everyone and their brother to control what turns up when you type in a keyword. Users have the power to "rate" search results, and as time goes on, these ratings will be used to tweak results accordingly.

As The New York Times points out, this means that anyone on earth has the power to rig Wikia Search in much the same way they can rig Wikipedia. But - as usual - Jimbo is adamant that if anyone tries to game the system, his minions will "block them, ban them, delete their stuff."

We have no doubt that Wikia will have a field day blocking, banning, and deleting all sorts of people, places, and things. The question is whether Jimbo's blinkered followers will crack down on their friends in the same way they crack down on those who don't know the secret handshake.

After all, this is hardly the case at Wikipedia.

Nonetheless, Jimbo insists that his "democratic" model is somehow a better bet than what goes on over at Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft. "I think it is unhealthy for the citizens of the world that so much of our information is controlled by such a small number of players, behind closed doors," he told The New York Times. "We really have no ability to understand and influence that process."

We would argue the opposite: The Wales mentality is far more dangerous simply because Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft don't go around telling people that everything they do has a "neutral point of view."

Google is also toying with an "editable" search engine. But at least Brin, Page, and company have the good sense to keep it away from the John Q. Public - and to stop short of using edits to influence search results at large.

In any event, Jimbo is intent on making some money from his project, something he's been unable to do with the Wikipedia, which is run by the officially not-for-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Wikia also serves up Wikipedia-like info on all sorts of random subjects, and according to The New York Times, the company has already raked in $14m in venture capital - with $10m of that coming from Amazon.

Bootnote

For years, Jimmy Wales has referred to himself as the sole founder of Wikipedia - doing his best to expunge the role of co-founder Larry Sanger. But Jimbo has now gone sofar as to christen himself the "spiritual leader of the project since day one". ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.