Wikia Search Alpha launches

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 7, 2008
Updated • Dec 10, 2012
Internet, Search

Wikia Search is the new project by Jimmy Wales who created Wikipedia. Instead of using an algorithmic approach it combines that approach with user feedback to provide everyone with better search results. The theory sounds nice, let users week out the spam and fake websites like Made for Adsense sites and websites with no content.

But, and this is a big but in my opinion, we will most likely see more and a different kind of manipulation that could have a huge impact on search results. That being said Wikia Search Alpha launched a few days ago and the interface looks clean and crisp. It's fast as well and has some nice Ajax build in that adds to the usability of the search.

The search itself is not up to the point yet and one should not use Wikia Search just yet to research a topic. Ratings do not work yet as well but that is understandable if you consider the fact that it is the first public release. One difference to other search engines are so called Mini articles that will be shown in the search results.

They are basically mini Wikipedia articles that can be edited by all users and display information about the search term. I'm not quite sure how this is going to work out. I mean, if I want information about Microsoft I prefer to visit the official website, Wikipedia or other encyclopedias that hold the information.

There is also the social aspect. Every search results page displays "People matching" pictures and I'm not sure what I can make of this. I prefer a search engine to provide me with the best results. I don't want to see other people searching for the terms or people who are related to those terms. I don't want to read mini articles about the search that I perform unless that mini articles contains the BEST links to the places where I can get the answer that I'm looking for.

I do have troubles giving users more power over the system because it will be abused, you can be sure of that. The misuse will grow with the growing popularity of Wikia Search and the creators have to make sure that it will not get out of hand like the Stumbleupon, Digg, Propeller and to a lesser extent Wikipedia spam.

Having said that it is an alpha version that works. It's not yet the best search engine there is but it is a beginning. It does look promising and I will return and see how Wikia Search progresses over time.


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