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 â€œWikipedia, the free encyclopediaâ€. On that day, anyone reviewing it would have laughed. Whatâ€™s this? Thereâ€™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.