Wikia Search launched today. So far it’s nothing much, but the plan is to grow the product over the coming years. Jimmy Wales said in a comment on TechCrunch:

When I launched Wikipedia, I wrote at the top of the first page “Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”. On that day, anyone reviewing it would have laughed. What’s this? There’s nothing here! This is not an encyclopedia, it is an empty website with some funny editing syntax!

So far there doesn’t seem to be a lot for users to do with the site, but presumably as the alpha release comes along there will be more. It reminds me of Opencola which I played with a little back in 2002, but seems to have never taken off. I think Opencola was really onto something back in the day, so I have high hopes for this.

Meanwhile, Goolgle is presumably hard at work on their Wikipedia competitor, Knols.

So what we’re seeing is a head-to-head competition between Wikimedia/Wikia’s transparency model and Google’s secrecy model.

Also of note, The New Yorker has a long article on Google’s lobbying.