Wikipedia founder Wales launches search project (CORRECTION)

CORRECTION: Jimmy Wales tells BoingBoing that the Times UK article excerpted below contains an important error:

"Amazon is a recent investor in Wikia, but they have nothing to do with this search project."

I've taken the liberty of striking out the Times' error below. – XJ

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Snip from Times UK article:

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia, is set to launch an internet search engine with that he hopes will become a rival to Google and Yahoo! Mr Wales has begun working on a search engine that exploits the same user-based technology as his open-access encyclopaedia, which was launched in 2003.

The project has been dubbed Wikiasari – a combination of wiki, the Hawaiian word for quick, and asari, which is Japanese for "rummaging search".

Mr Wales told The Times that he was planning to develop a commercial version of the search engine through Wikia Inc, his for-profit company, with a provisional launch date in the first quarter of next year. Earlier this year he secured multimillion-dollar funding from and a separate cash injection from a group of Silicon Valley financiers to finance projects at Wikia.

Link. currently redirects here: Link, and on that site, Mr. Wales explains:

Search is part of the fundamental infrastructure of the Internet. And, it is currently broken.
Why is it broken? It is broken for the same reason that proprietary software is always broken: lack of freedom, lack of community, lack of accountability, lack of transparency. Here, we will change all that.

There have been some amazing projects in recent years which have matured now to the point that a new alternative is possible. Wikia is funding and supporting the development of something radically new.

Nutch and Lucene and some other projects now provide the background infrastructure that we need to generate a new kind of search engine, which relies on human intelligence to do what algorithms cannot. Just as Wikipedia revolutionized how we think about knowledge and the encyclopedia, we have a chance now to revolutionize how we think about search.

Help me out, spread the word. I am looking for people to continue the development of a wiki-inspired search engine. Specifically community members who would like to help build people-powered search results and developers to help us build an open-source alternative for web search.

Link to related discussion.

Reader comment:

Dan Harper says,

You probably already know the blog "Evolving Trends" has been writing on the Semantic Web, and said back on June 26, 200, that Wikipedia is best positioned to really make the Semantic Web take off, and unseat Google. Link. Maybe this is the way the Zeitgeist is blowing.