Jimmy Wales, the founder of the hugely popular online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, has outlined his plans for a new search engine service to rival Google.
Wales’s new start-up firm Wikia has bought up a web crawling technology called Grub from LookSmart, and released it under an open source licence. Like the famous SETI project, Grub relies on users donating their personal computing resources as well as human editors.
Speaking at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention in Oregon, a decidedly tigerish Wales reckoned that his new service could, “change the balance of power from the search companies back to the publishers”.
“The desire to collaborate and support a transparent and open platform for search is clearly deeply exciting to both open source and businesses,” said Wales, adding, “Look for other exciting announcements in the coming months as we collectively work to free the judgement of information from invisible rules inside an algorithmic black box.”
Grub employs a modular approach, making it easy for developers to quickly & easily extend and add functionality as well as introduce improvements to the quality and performance of the entire system.
If Wales’s plans come to fruition, the combination of a Wiki forming social consensus backed by a huge distributed user-contributed processing network could provide a far more open and transparent search engine that could go on to rival giants like Google and Yahoo!