When Wikia Search, a search play by wiki-communities site Wikia first launched, it pretty sucked. Even Jimmy Wales himself, founder, admitted to TechCrunch that “it has not been usable on a day to day basis.” Well, they’ve relaunched recently, and they have four keywords going for them: Transparency, Community, Quality, Privacy. And that pretty much defines their take on search — Google with a focus on their keywords. So, does it still suck? You tell me.
But here’s what I can say: their results are far, far, far more better, and their new features — not to mention the focus put on transparency, community, quality, and privacy — adds greatly to their product, undoubtedly making it a “usable” search alternative and one with a potential future.
With a 30 million-page index, the service has relaunched with a bunch of feature, specifically ones that — like Wikipedia — put the power of quality into the hands of the user. Users can now edit search results, annotate right on the pages, spotlight/highlight them, comment on them, and even delete them. A recent history log is presented in the sidebar with a list of recent changes made and the IP address of the contributor.
In short, Wikia Search is basically looking to be the Wikipedia of Google. What Jimmy Wales did with the world’s encyclopedic information — putting the editorial into the hands of everyone — he’s now doing with web search. This is an alternative approach to Google, which relies on its machines to present the best search results, and Mahalo, which relies on a group of actual editors making search results for the top terms In a way, it’s a mix of both, but instead of relying on machines or actual humans it relies on everybody, which is kind of funny since Mahalo seeks to be a mix of Google and Wikipedia and most top results on Google are of Wikipedia. See the triangle of life? 😉 As for its relevancy, I’ll admit it’s good but no way near great, and they have some way to go, but who knows if it could do to search what Wikipedia did to encyclopedias.