The founder of Wikipedia says taking the online encyclopedia’s collaborative approach into the field of search won’t dethrone Google Inc. or another major search engine — at least not soon.
After months of talk and a few weeks of invitation-only testing, Wikia Search is to open to the general public next week.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales says his goal is to let volunteers improve search technology collectively, the way Wikipedia lets anyone add or change entries, regardless of expertise.
“That reduces the sort of bottleneck of two or three firms really controlling the flow of search traffic,” said Wales, chairman of Wikia Inc., the for-profit venture behind the search project.
Engineers at Google and other search companies continually tweak their complex software algorithms to improve results and fight spammers — those who try to artificially boost the rankings of their own sites. Search companies have not disclosed many details to avoid tipping off competitors and spammers.
Wales’ approach would open that process. Initially, participants will help make such decisions as whether a site on “Paris Hilton” refers to the celebrity or a French hotel.