A news item caught my interest today about Jimmy Wales, the founder of the popular site Wikipedia. He will be launching a new open source based search engine, the Wikia Search Project, on January 7, 2008. The search engine results shall show how web site rank were arrived at and shall not collect search habits by its users. It is also intended to be open source that allow users like you and me to use it, build our own search engines, and even contribute.
In the long run, the Wikia Search Project aims to challenge leading players such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN. What makes it interesting is that it will share the code to its users who can take action and compete, as they get tired on the sanctions, penalties, and preferential treatment given by search engines to its advertisers and against indirect competitors.
Wikipedia's popularity on the web, as a source of information, is recognized by search engines today and top results usually pointing to that site. It will be interesting, with the launch of the Wikia Search Project, whether Wikipedia's rank will be treated differently. This is a trend that can be worth monitoring.
Wikipedia has an interesting audience especially from the youth segment. Even among my children, they default to Wikipedia when searching for information. Only when the information is not available is the time they use commercial search engines. With the Wikia Search Project coming into play, the search engine as a social object will further step up in 2008.