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Monday, January 7, 2008

Wikia Search Alpha Launched
By Tony Ruscoe

“We are aware that the quality of the search results is low.”

– The Wikia Search About Us page.

Wikipedia creator Jimmy Wales has finally launched the alpha release of his search engine Wikia Search to the public, and the Internet is buzzing with early reviews and thoughts. Unfortunately, the consensus so far (according to Techmeme) is that it’s pretty bad. But at least they know it.

I often type [wiki keyword] into Google (or [wp keyword] into my Firefox address bar) to be taken straight to Wikipedia when I already know what I’m looking for and just need more information. I don’t think it would be unreasonable to expect Wikia Search to return Wikipedia articles in its results. However, when I tried a few sample queries, I was as disappointed as everyone else. For example, a search for [songs in guitar hero III] didn’t provide what I was looking for in the first ten results. By comparison, the same search on Google takes me straight to the Wikipedia article for List of songs in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. (Incidentally, I also got HTTP Status 500 errors when trying to view cached pages, so it’s not just the quality of the search results that’s low.)

Of course, Wikipedia would have been pretty poor when it was first launched. Just try to imagine looking for an article only to find that it didn’t exist; something which rarely happens these days. So I guess only time will tell whether Wikia Search will be as successful as its more popular, better experienced, older sibling.

[Thanks Philipp Lenssen and!]


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