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Wikia Search Launches Alpha, Not Ready Yet 107

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the release-early-and-often dept.
babooo404 writes "Jimmy Wales' latest project, Search Wikia has launched into alpha this morning. Most reviews have been negative. The system is a 'social search' and uses the Nutch search algorithm. You can friend people along with creating profiles, and the system uses a Wikipedia-style format for 'mini articles.'"
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Wikia Search Launches Alpha, Not Ready Yet

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  • Ok, let me see if I understand this. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that can't have proofs or in depth reference materials, because more detail is out of scope for really no reason. But, they can somehow try and turn wiki into another google or a facebook.

    Interesting!

    Me thinks wiki should focus on its content.
    • Losing their way? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday January 07, 2008 @05:35PM (#21946906)
      Wikipedia has a first-mover advantage and brand recognition in the encyclopedia domain. With all the silliness about Carolyn Doran, content whitewashing etc, it would seem that Wikipedia might be drifting from its core competence. That articles on Briney Speers' albumns are OK while proofs are not just shows that Wikipedia is really just another mass-market content site rather than a true knowledge source.

      Competing in the search engine space just dilutes their effectiveness even more. Google currently links to Wikipedia and one might guess that a very large % of Wikipedia access comes via Google hits.

      • I beg to differ (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SD-Arcadia (1146999) on Monday January 07, 2008 @06:31PM (#21947560) Homepage
        Wikipedia is so awesome that it has changed by web habits, and half replaced google for me already. When I need to learn about something, from political events to computer games, I find myself starting off with a wikipedia search BEFORE going to google. I usually follow by visiting the external links from the wiki page. Great for getting to the "official page" of whatever I am interested if there is one, without crappy ad spam sites filling up the google search. Not a true knowledge source? Depends what you mean by "true", but Wiki pages beat the regular web for me hands down when what I want is just the naked knowledge and not a whole web page full of "content". Wiki gives me a concise body of text, and a relevant picture most of the times, no ads, no marketing, and no aggressive pushing of any kind of text, image, video etc. When you use wikipedia, you feel in control, while with the commercial nature of the web, you feel like a customer.
        • "When I need to learn about something, from political events to computer games, I find myself starting off with a wikipedia search BEFORE going to google."


          God help you
      • by Titoxd (1116095)
        That no-proof stuff was just somebody coming to whine to Slashdot that an article with proofs wasn't deleted [slashdot.org], not the other way around. I agree about the search engine not being very effective, although you have to remember that it is Wikia who is trying that silliness, not Wikimedia.
    • If wiki is going to branch into search, they need to fix their built-in search feature first. I can't count the number of times that an article whose title is my search term is listed fifth or below in the results.
      • They did the opposite, sorta. The new wikia search runs Nutch [apache.org], which is a sub-project of the apache foundation's Lucene [apache.org] project.
        Guess what search engine powers wikipedia? Yup, it's Lucene [wikipedia.org]!

    • by ajs (35943) <ajs&ajs,com> on Monday January 07, 2008 @05:52PM (#21947116) Homepage Journal

      Ok, let me see if I understand this. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that can't have proofs or in depth reference materials, because more detail is out of scope for really no reason. But, they can somehow try and turn wiki into another google or a facebook.
      Wow, so much wrong.... so little space.

      Let me wee if I can begin.... nope... trying again...

      OK, so the WikiMedia Foundation [wikimedia.org], of which Wikipedia is one (and the best known) project, includes Wikibooks [wikibooks.org], Wiktionary [wiktionary.org], and many more.

      Wikia isn't any of those.

      Wikia is a project of Wikia, Inc. [wikia.com] So you're WAY off in your throwing stones at Wikipedia over Wikia's search... the two have nothing to do with each other, other than the fact that Wikia search will almost certainly index Wikipedia and Wikipedia will almost certainly have an entry for Wikia search.

      Now, on to your proofs beef. Proofs are tough. Sometimes overviews of them can be important, but they're fundamental examples of primary sources [wikipedia.org], which are not nearly as useful to an encyclopedia as secondary sources that give the context within which the proof is notable.

      • by owlnation (858981)

        Wikia is a project of Wikia, Inc. So you're WAY off in your throwing stones at Wikipedia over Wikia's search... the two have nothing to do with each other, other than the fact that Wikia search will almost certainly index Wikipedia and Wikipedia will almost certainly have an entry for Wikia search.

        Oh stop this nonsense! This has been brought up here many times. Yes, yes, we all know the legal / fiscal entities are claimed as being separate. I suspect this warrants detailed tax auditing. But aside from thi

        • It's kind of weird. Since Jimbo Wales is a dedicated Ayn Randian, I always think of him as being just like that Andrew Ryan Dude in Bioshock.

          The fact that Wikipedia is a lot like Rapture helps. ;)
          • by rkanodia (211354)
            If he could hurry up and invent a plasmid to let me kick Wikipedia admins in the nuts over TCP/IP, I'd appreciate it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          If nothing else, the oft criticized, and of dubious history, Jimbo Wales is firmly at the helm of both. He is very much in control of both.

          He's actually not at the helm of either, though he exerts a lot of influence over Wikipedia.

        • by ajs (35943)

          Wikia is a project of Wikia, Inc. So you're WAY off in your throwing stones at Wikipedia over Wikia's search... the two have nothing to do with each other, other than the fact that Wikia search will almost certainly index Wikipedia and Wikipedia will almost certainly have an entry for Wikia search.

          Oh stop this nonsense! This has been brought up here many times. Yes, yes, we all know the legal / fiscal entities are claimed as being separate. I suspect this warrants detailed tax auditing. But aside from this semantic dodge, in reality there is enough connections to make this the same organization.

          They are closely related in that Jimmy Wales is involved in both, but try actually reading what I was responding to. There's no way in which we can connect editorial policies on Wikipedia with Wikia search to then conclude that Wikipedia has some sort of editorial double-standard. I can't even begin to figure out how that thought process would get started unless the OP thought that Wikia is just another name for Wikipedia, and this was, in fact, Wikipedia Search. ... Hence my disabusing him of such confusi

        • by midom (535130)
          ok, office is different, technology people are different, technology is different, datacenters are different, management is different, communities are different, etc. how the heck anyone can think there're strong ties between Wikia and Wikipedia? They are as strong as between Wikipedia and Mahalo, or Wikipedia and whateverothercollaborativeweb2.0 site. If company name is made by stripping few letters, it doesn't make it immediately closely related. Micro is not Microsoft, Goo is not Google, Wikia is not Wi
      • Thanks for this. As a board member of Wikimedia I'll say again that Wikimedia hasn't had anything to do with this, financially or otherwise; we haven't even heard any more about it than the general public. (Please stop writing to Wikimedia and asking about it when you want Wikia; we don't know and you're flooding our mailbox.) Yep, right now Wikia search mostly sucks. I suppose it will eventually not suck. But I'm happy to be just a spectator.
    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday January 07, 2008 @07:41PM (#21948220)

      Ok, let me see if I understand this.


      You don't.

      Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that can't have proofs or in depth reference materials, because more detail is out of scope for really no reason.


      Wikipedia can (and does) have proofs (e.g., in the article on Arrow's Impossibility Theorem [wikipedia.org].) Usually, in-depth reference is out-of-scope, and appropriate for other Wikimedia projects which may be linked from Wikipedia articles, like Wikibooks (if it is contributor-developed) or Wikisource (for source texts that can be reproduced without copyright problems.)

      But, they can somehow try and turn wiki into another google or a facebook.


      Wikia [wikia.com] is not the same thing as Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], even though Jimmy Wales is centrally involved in both. Wikia competing with Google or Facebook is not Wikipedia (or even Wikimedia [wikimedia.org]) doing so.

      • Wikia is not the same thing as Wikipedia, even though Jimmy Wales is centrally involved in both.

        The problem is that it's an incredibly incestuous relationship. And the question arises as to just how much of the resources of the NON PROFIT Wikipedia are now being used for the FOR PROFIT Wikia CORPORATION.

        Jimmy Wales wants to make his billions off the free labor of the Wikidrones that presently donate their time and money to Wikipedia. Very ethically challenging.

        • Jimmy Wales wants to make his billions off the free labor of the Wikidrones that presently donate their time and money to Wikipedia. Very ethically challenging.
          That's about as stupid as saying Google doesn't deserve to make money since all they do in provide the infra for indexing webpages, without actually creating them. It's like Layer Cake: the secret of success in business is being a good middle-man, not the poor suckers at the ends.
        • by greenrd (47933)

          Wikia is not the same thing as Wikipedia, even though Jimmy Wales is centrally involved in both.
          The problem is that it's an incredibly incestuous relationship. And the question arises as to just how much of the resources of the NON PROFIT Wikipedia are now being used for the FOR PROFIT Wikia CORPORATION.

          There's no evidence of this happening. There are laws to stop this kind of misappropriation of funds.

          • There's no evidence of this happening. There are laws to stop this kind of misappropriation of funds.


            In fact, Wikia donates resources to the Wikimedia Foundation, as is revealed in the latters audited financial statements.
        • The problem is that it's an incredibly incestuous relationship.

          Its a not uncommon for active entrepreneurs to have multiple for-profit and not-for-profit endeavors like this. I've yet to see a "problem" identified.

          And the question arises as to just how much of the resources of the NON PROFIT Wikipedia are now being used for the FOR PROFIT Wikia CORPORATION.

          The nonprofit is the Wikimedia Foundation, and its audited 2006 financial statement is here [wikimedia.org]. See particularly Note E:

          Note E - Related Party Transactions

          • Wikimedia no longer receives any donations of office space from Wikia. And that's now two former members and one current member -- Michael Davis is no longer on the WMF board, leaving only Jimmy with current ties to both.
  • no go (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jacquesm (154384) <j&ww,com> on Monday January 07, 2008 @05:00PM (#21946500) Homepage
    I tried it on a bunch of fairly simple queries and got nothing but extremely lousy results.

    On the web first impressions really matter and I think wikia fails horribly in that respect.

    Please Jimmy Wales go and fix wikipedia, it needs urgent attention, especially protection from editors running wild, and please, google go work on getting rid of that spam and fixing the rankings...

    • Re:no go (Score:5, Informative)

      by garcia (6573) on Monday January 07, 2008 @05:21PM (#21946770) Homepage
      You need to read some of Jimmy's comments on one of the blogs linked in the summary, especially the one I have copy/pasted below... The most important part is the second paragraph and while I am no Wikipedia fan and certainly agree with your comments that protections need to occur from what I assume you mean by "editors running wild," I think what he says below is very important for this new project!

      From here [techcrunch.com]:

      January 6th, 2008 at 10:50 pm

      Release early, release often.

      It's a project to *build* a search engine, not a search engine. We've been telling everyone that constantly. I'm sorry Michael's disappointed, but having said that, we didn't build it for him, but for people who think that openness, transparency, and participation are more important than slick releases.

      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 the comparison to Google on day one is just mistaken. Google didn't launch a project to build a human-powered search engine, they launched an algorithmic search engine with a clever new idea. So they didn't have to wait for the humans to come in and start building it.

      We aren't even running with a real index yet, just a placeholder index. Yeah, the search sucks today. But that's not the point. The point is that we are building something different.
      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by evanbd (210358)

        Personally, my complaint isn't that wikia search sucks. I'm sure it does, but it's alpha. I think the concept is interesting, so I'll reserve judgement for a while.

        My complaint is that Wikipedia has major flaws, mostly related to management and editing and such. It desperately needs help. I won't go into detail, everyone has heard the complaints before. My biggest complaint about Wikia search is twofold: Jimbo should be working to fix Wikipedia instead, and more importantly, I see no reason to believ

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ZombieWomble (893157)
        I've read these comments, and I see two potential issues with them:

        Firstly, he makes a comparison to Wikipedia on day one, and says how all anyone would see is a page with a "funny editing syntax". The problem is, from all reports I've seen, this new engine doesn't even have the equivalent - it's just a standard algorithmic search with a very limited site list at the moment. If it had the beginnings of a collaborative search engine it may be more interesting, but as far as I can see this is all "in the fu

    • I tried it briefly and didn't like it at all. It's still light-years behind Google.

      This morning, I was talking to a friend about engines, and he told me about the Wankel engine. I looked for "wenkel engine" [wikia.com] (I couldn't spell it better than that) in Wikia and it gave me one result only, which wasn't related at all. I went to Google [google.ca], and the first thing: "Did you mean wankel engine? [google.ca]". Google is always my friend whenever I want to know how to spell something.

      Ok, then I searched for "wankel engine" in Wiki

      • you aren't paying attention. this is an alpha release, it actually warns you that it isn't that good [yet]. google has been indexing since 1998, wikia has been online for er a day or so? why not wait until they've been at least in beta before calling it a failure hmmm?
        • by jacquesm (154384)
          on the *day* that I first even heard about google it was lightyears ahead of anything else on the market at the time, which is why I used it and stuck with it. That's how adoption on the web works. If you start sending out press releases about your 'launch' then you'd better be ready.

          Wikipedia wasn't launched by a bunch of press releases in the alpha stage. Oh, and wikipedia gets a very large share of it's traffic from google soon to be a major competitor. We'll see how that 'do no evil' holds up. Already g
    • by antic (29198)
      On Google, it's true that their search results for accommodation/travel searches are very, very poor and one of the main problems are the bucketloads of travel directories that exist. I don't think their algorithm can combat that without help.

      Say, you're a small bed and breakfast somewhere. Once your site is up, you need backlinks to help your positioning. Maybe you can get one from the local travel authority (not always) and a couple from complementary service providers (if you're lucky and they care). Aft
    • Isn't that just a human justification for our woefully short little spans of attention? "First impressions" is a functional antonym to "considered response".

      First impressions inherently channel brinksmanship: there is no second impression without a first impression, but you can't, uh, shoot first and ask questions later. You've got to save up your war bolus so as not to cloud anyone's judgment with a half measure. Meanwhile, you spend years of your life laboring in secrecy, in hopes that the big moment f
    • by patro (104336)
      I think the rating of links could help prevent spam, because people will rate things *down*.

      If I search for something and the link I found is good then I usually don't return to the search results, so people won't rate thing up.

      However, if the link is bad then I close it and go back to the search results to look for more hits, and I will rate the previous link down.

      So the rating system will probably work only in negative cases, but it could be a great way to fight spam (with a captcha of course, so that it
  • by snarfies (115214) on Monday January 07, 2008 @05:04PM (#21946550) Homepage
    Sorry, these reviews are not from reliable peer-reviewed sources and all references to them should be deleted. In fact, this whole article should be speedy deleted as non-notable.
  • by mcsqueak (1043736) on Monday January 07, 2008 @05:05PM (#21946574)

    Maybe this will be rolled into Wikipedia once it's done, but it seems me to that their search algorithm needs *plenty* of work. Thanks to the glories of SpellChecker, I can't spell worth a damn... when I misspell something in Wikipedia, it rarely finds it in the results, whereas Google always know what I meant to type AND OFFERS ME A CORRECTION. On Wikipedia, I have to go look how to spell whatever I'm searching for correctly, then put it back into Wikipedia's search just to find what I'm looking for.

    Very frustrating...

  • The search results aren't great because there isn't really an index yet. I'm not sure why they led people to expect a working search engine.

    But at least Wikia Search is hosted in a cool underground nuke-proof data bunker [datacenterknowledge.com] in the middle of Iowa.

  • results are terribly irrelevant

    this will make people appreciate how much work goes into google/live/yahoo search engines once they use this

    and no unicode support? wtf! i tried searching for Moscow in russian (lol wtf! no unicode on slashdot either!)

    ugly 404 page too
  • Awesome (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 07, 2008 @05:10PM (#21946636)

    Highlighted article when I search for "sex":

    Mini Article About "sex"

    Sex is a term which is very often searched in the internet. Thus, a mini-article about pages with free pictures / videos without spam would be important.

    First result for "George Bush"

    George Bush Is A Crackwhore!
    ... handjobs for cash. George Bush is addicted to smack ... some blow.. yah know... like George Bush ...
    http://www.george.bush.isacrackwhore.com/ [isacrackwhore.com] - Cached - 1.26

    This is genius. I think I know what I'll search site I'll use next time I need some entertainment.

  • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Monday January 07, 2008 @05:10PM (#21946642) Homepage Journal

    Which part of Alpha did these guys not understand? It is, by definition, "Not Ready Yet"!

    Jimmy has pointed out that they're not even running against a real index yet, just a placeholder index. He even went so far as to say, "the search sucks today." The idea wasn't to launch a finished product that's ready for primetime. It wasn't even to launch a particularly working application. The point was to put something out there to demonstrate some rudimentary functionality while they continue to work towards something that does work.

    You know, like a Beta.

    I think it's kind of sad that Jimmy put something out and said, "Here's what it kinda will look like, and sorta how it will work," and people's first reaction is, "It's not a fully-functional working product? What a piece of crap."

    I think I'll wait a little longer before judging. If you don't like the concept, fine, don't like the concept. But to bust its chops because it's not fully functional is a bit premature and silly at this point.

    • by PhxBlue (562201)

      The point was to put something out there to demonstrate some rudimentary functionality while they continue to work towards something that does work.
      If it doesn't work, demonstrating it to the public is probably a Bad Idea(tm). Just ask Microsoft!
      • by kebes (861706)

        If it doesn't work, demonstrating it to the public is probably a Bad Idea(tm). Just ask Microsoft!

        There's a notable difference between trying to sell people an expensive piece of software that doesn't work, and making alpha code available free of charge for whoever wants to play with it.

        Wikia is just following the OSS philosophy of releasing early so that they can get feedback and hopefully get other people interested in helping them make it work. They are not charging for anything and have made it clear that this is all "alpha quality" for the time being.

        It's true that demonstrating something in

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kebes (861706)
      Agreed. This is a very early prototype, and should be treated as such. I think people's expectations are quite high because of how large and complex Wikipedia currently is. They forget what Wikipedia looked like when it first launched! [archive.org]

      In the review entry, Jimmy Wales posted a comment that responds [techcrunch.com] to these criticisms quite accurately:

      Release early, release often.

      It's a project to *build* a search engine, not a search engine. We've been telling everyone that constantly. I'm sorry Michael's disappointe

      • by owlnation (858981)

        This is a very early prototype, and should be treated as such. I think people's expectations are quite high because of how large and complex Wikipedia currently is. They forget what Wikipedia looked like when it first launched!
        NO! NO! NO! Exactly the OPPOSITE! People have very low expectations because of the nightmare dystopia that Wikipedia has become.
        • by greenrd (47933)

          This is a very early prototype, and should be treated as such. I think people's expectations are quite high because of how large and complex Wikipedia currently is. They forget what Wikipedia looked like when it first launched!
          NO! NO! NO! Exactly the OPPOSITE! People have very low expectations because of the nightmare dystopia that Wikipedia has become.

          No matter how loudly you scream, you cranks will be in the minority.

          • I could be wrong, but I think that was sarcasm.

            I always think it's a little funny how so many people complain about the Wikipedia, yet so many people—including the complainers—continue to use it with excellent results.

    • If it's not useful, why was it released at all? I thought I'd at least be able to contribute to reporting spam, or something, but clicking the stars (no visible indication they _can_ be clicked btw) just says that they don't do anything yet.
    • by anthony_dipierro (543308) on Monday January 07, 2008 @08:00PM (#21948392) Journal

      Which part of Alpha did these guys not understand? It is, by definition, "Not Ready Yet"!

      I always took "Alpha" to imply feature-complete.

      I think it's kind of sad that Jimmy put something out and said, "Here's what it kinda will look like, and sorta how it will work," and people's first reaction is, "It's not a fully-functional working product? What a piece of crap."

      Personally I think it's crap not because it doesn't work, but because there aren't any original good ideas to it. Mini articles are cool, but not at all original, and the idea that they're going to populate them solely from user contributions rather than taking them from a free content source or buying them from somewhere is dumb. Sure, rating results doesn't work, but again, not at all original, and probably not that useful unless and until there are millions of people using the thing. Then there's the whole Myspace/Facebook/whatever stuff. Not original, not well integrated into the rest of the site, not interesting to me, and not a good idea in the first place (to integrate the two).

      Wales says "It's a project to *build* a search engine, not a search engine." Fine, but how does Jimmy expect to get people to build a search engine for his for-profit business? There are answers to that question, but I don't see where Jimmy has hit on any of them. The Alpha that launched today doesn't seem geared to developers. Sure, when Wikipedia was launched it sucked. But at least I could edit it and make it not suck! And anything I added could be used by anywhere in the world, not just Jimmy Wales or Bomis. What can I do with Search Wikia? Add to the mini-articles? Lame.

      • by patro (104336)
        Mini articles are cool

        I wonder why these mini articles exist at all when there is wikipedia already. For articles (like George Bush) which have a wikipedia page they should link wikipedia directly instead of duplicating the content in a mini article.
      • by dkf (304284)

        I always took "Alpha" to imply feature-complete.
        Where I come from, an alpha software release is one where the devs are saying "here's some interesting stuff you might want to try; feedback welcome, but we know it's not finished yet, OK?" You must be thinking about beta releases, which is where the feature set is pretty-much locked down and everyone's trying to locate and eliminate the bugs.

  • ... is this the community for whipsawing a website that goes alpha | "proof of concept" with "very little money?" I read the article, I read the review. I know who Jimmy Wales is, for chrissake, and I know he's controversial [wikipedia.org]. Does that mean he's not allowed to take the wraps off software and a web site that hopes to rely heavily on user input to make it worthwhile and better? We all start ... and restart ... *somewhere.*
  • " is the name of a garage band from Omaha"

    Well, this is Wiki, if the content isn't there, do something!
    • by owlnation (858981)

      Well, this is Wiki, if the content isn't there, do something!
      Yup, go round yourself up a cabal and make sure your version of the "truth" stays that way.
  • I can't find anything in terms of documentation on Wikia, but it appears Wikia search is blocking sites on Wikipedia's blacklist [wikimedia.org] from being listed in the search engine. I've pulled a few examples from the blacklist and searched for them and have yet to receive any results on any of those searches.

    Can anyone confirm or refute this? Maybe it's just because the Wikia is in alpha it hasn't indexed much yet?

    If this is the case I'd probably steer clear of Wikia; I'm not sure I ant my search results to be filtered
    • by enoz (1181117)
      I'd be curious to know how often useful search results come from sites that are in Wikipedia's SPAM blacklist.

      I suppose you also steer clear of Google and any other search engine that uses a blacklist?
  • Be careful... (Score:5, Informative)

    by christopherfinke (608750) <chris@efinke.com> on Monday January 07, 2008 @05:34PM (#21946904) Homepage Journal
    Not only are the reviews bad, but using it could get you banned from Facebook. [chrisfinke.com]
    • Last I checked, facebook does the same thing and hassles you to give facebook your email passwords so that it can log in and then invite/find people. And in general facebook makes it unnecessarily difficult to search for friends by email--thereby encouraging you to just give them full access.

      Unbalanced TOS aside, facebook isn't going to start banning all wiki users (I don't think), instead they're going to have to keep those sites from aggregating. Of course, someone could probably just create a facebook a
  • I always get a kick out of reading new sites.
    From the footer:

        <div id="ftcnt">
            <div id="ftlinks">
                <div id="ftcloud">
    • by PCM2 (4486)
      Uhhh... maybe I'm dense but I don't see what's wrong with that. Or maybe you just hate CSS?
  • by MarkWatson (189759) on Monday January 07, 2008 @05:40PM (#21946958) Homepage
    ... before blasting the effort like the top level story poster.

    BTW, last night I looked at their technical information site: http://search.wikia.com/wiki/Search_Wikia [wikia.com]

    Some interesting stuff that I did not know about in their "Semantic lab".

    Anyway, it is at least an interesting idea - time will tell how it works out for users, and as a business.
  • Not having heard much about Wikia search or the hype that surrounds it (I like it under my rock, thank you very much) I gave it a shot.

    The results aren't that bad (tried 2 dozen queries, albeit only moderately difficult. all gave satisfactory results in the first few hits), and the integration of a wiki article and people-profiles are interesting concepts. The interface is nice and clean. I guess they could work on their integration with wikipedia; it's one of the strong points of Clusty. All in all not a b
  • You can friend people along with creating profiles

    Huh? You mean I have to RTFA to figure out what this means?

    Where's a grammar Nazi when you need them most...
  • Has anybody used Wikipedia's normal search on their site. I can never find anything, It's horrible. Yahoo & Google do a much superior job with searches than they do on their own site. With that in mind, it doesn't make much sense for them to development a brand new search engine type thing when their own isn't that good.
    • by chdig (1050302)
      Very well put. As far as a resume for building a searchable infrastructure, Jimmy doesn't have it.

      As for why they're doing it anyways, I would imagine that commercial potential is the spurring factor.
  • Please don't mark me off-topic or peg me as astroturfing. I am saying explicitly that I wrote this site. This is my own vision of social searching, and I am putting it here because it's the topic of the article:

    http://jumphunt.com/ [jumphunt.com]

    Essentially, you type "g" to search google, "y" to search yahoo, etc. You can add and take away from the defaults. You can share, grab from other users, discuss sites, etc (that's the social aspect). You also get your own no-login-needed homepage to jump to sites. You can th
    • Not to pop your bubble, but after giving it a go I'd found a bug inside 10 seconds: If you search using a key other than Google, the key is passed to the search engine. For instance, if you type in "live tree" (to use the MSN live serach) it presents searched for the word "live" (topped by live media downloads).
      I'm not saying "your site sucks!", actualy it's a neat idea if you have to use several diferent search engines, but I thought you should know that I found a (fairly obvious) bug realy quickly.
      • I'm not seeing the bug. i try live tree... and i get live.com's results for tree. What browser are you using?
  • Nobody's going to bother using it until its quality is "good enough".
    Its quality isn't going to improve if nobody uses it.
  • so, I searched for "penis" -- not that I'm searching for penis, it's the first word that popped into my head. Ugh, anyhow, the first page consists solely of sites for penis enlargement pills.
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday January 07, 2008 @09:58PM (#21949198) Homepage

    Wales was quoted recently complaining about Google's results for "Tampa hotels" [searchengineland.com], and talking about how Wikia was going to be better. So I searched Wikia for "Tampa hotels".

    The first three results from Wikia search are all from the domain "visit-tampa-bay.com". That's one of those bottom-feeder ad link sites. The site is supposed to redirect traffic to Orbitz, but doesn't even do that right. Very disappointing result. Could they have been spammed already?

    Trying "Tampa hotels" in Google gets us "travel.yahoo.com" for the top two results, which indicates that Google isn't biasing their search against their biggest competitor. Next is "traveladvisor.com". Those are OK results; you'd be able to get a hotel room that way.

    Trying "Tampa hotels" in Yahoo search gets us a page from one of Yahoo's special cases. Yahoo knows about "hotels", so we get a list of hotels and prices from Yahoo, and three sponsored results. The top organic result is "tripadvisor.com", which is at least a big-name travel site, followed by "visittampabay.com" (not to be confused with "visit-tampa-bay.com"), the site for the local Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Yahoo certainly tries hard for hotel searches, and seems to be doing OK.

    Trying "Tampa hotels" in MSN search gets results that look much like Yahoo's, but with lower result quality. MSN understands hotels as a special case. There are three sponsored results, and addresses and phone numbers for three real hotels. The first three organic search results are Yahoo Travel, "tampa-hotels.net" (an ad-laden landing page), and "tampa-hotels-discounts.net" (a bottom-feeder generic landing page that isn't even on topic.) Poor results.

    Trying our own SiteTruth [sitetruth.com] the top result is "all-hotels.com", which has a list of hotels with pictures and a reservation interface. The second result is Yahoo Travel, and the third is Expedia. We're sorting Yahoo results on business legitimacy, so that's not surprising. OK here.

    So there's where Wikia is today, on their recommended demo search.

  • Wikia Search is open source, it's based off of Grub [grub.org] (which we have already [slashdot.org] talked about [slashdot.org] before [slashdot.org]). Here's the source code to the grub Windows client [grub.org], and there's a dev site [grub.org] too. The current scoring algorithm is over here [nutch.org]. If you want to talk with Jimbo and the developers, hop on to mailing list [wikia.com] and let's talk.

    Anyway, it looks like there's the opportunity here to *improve* this search engine -- programmers, I know you are reading, and at least check out the code. There's been talk about running some competi
  • For example, I get nothing but the most insightful results when searching for the likes of "George Bush" [wikia.com] on Wikia Search.
  • There's a reason Google has a proprietary algorithm. It's not so it can control the world and generate cash, it's so the results are better.

    Back when google actually used pagerank, the results were OK, but they soon sucked as everyone started to game the system. Knowing the algorithm means sites designed specifically for high standings rather than for best content. They continually avoid this problem by changing the algorithm in secret.

    With an open source search algorithm, every result will not be

  • I see at least two big flaws in the business model for the Wikia engine--

    1. Google can do it better if Wikia works

    Insofar as Wikia derives competitive advantage over Google from community support of search result ranking, Google can copy the model easily.

    In order for it to scale within Wikia, a large number of users must contribute to ranking. Once so trained, most of these users would not resist contributing in the same way to Google's rankings. The community of search ranking raters is very different fro

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