Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales announced plans to launch an open source search engine, in an effort to challenge Google and Yahoo.
The news was announced aat a news conference in Tokyo. The new search engine is run through Wikia Inc., a company that seeks to use a similar model to the Wikipedia community-written and edited encyclopedia. Walles said that the company will provide the tools and technology to allow programmers across the Internet to collaborate on the development and testing of a search engine and make the results freely available.
The project is still in the planning stages and Wales expects that the first test version due this year will help programmers spot bugs that occur with real-world usage and speed up the development process.
Amazon is reported to be one of the financial backers for the project, which Wales hopes will launch in the fourth quarter of this year. However, the project is expected to be finalised in 1-2 years.
Wales claimed that the two companies currently dominating web search, Google and Yahoo, operate as closed systems that do not allow users to truly know how rankings are decided.
Wikia's goal is to claim as much as five per cent of the search market, earning the firm a chunk of the multi-billion dollar search advertising market, Wales said.
For more information on the Wikia project visit http://search.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page