Way back in February, Jimbo Wales announced at a Wiki Camp in India that their wikified search engine should launch by the end of the year. In case you missed the festivities the other day, just let me tell you—that deadline has come and gone.
However, as CNET reminds us today, Wikia Search is due for a public preview on Monday, January 7. Jimmy Wales said in an email to the Search Wikia email list that they had officially launched as of December 24 and would be:
letting people in slowly over the next few days and we are aiming for a January 7th public launch. We want to run over the system with help from people to complain about what is broken…
The subject line of the email was “private pre-alpha invites available,” so it’s looking like they’re either going live with an alpha launch or really, really hurrying the pre-alpha, alpha and beta phases.
Perhaps most interesting about the project, however, is the Search Wikia Whitelist. As the page states, “This is a list of sites that the community considers to be prime “must have” sites for the first crawl of the web.” The top tier in the order they appear on the current list:
- en.wikipedia.org (excluding talk pages, policy pages et al. “are not as desirable . . . for this first pass”)
- *.wikipedia.org (to cover other languages)
Users have expressed doubts about the worthiness of several of the sites (notably IMDb, eBay, Amazon and Forbes).
The second tier (even better):
- www.mahalo.com (which looks to be mostly a joke)
- www.archive.org (sans Wayback Machine)
- British Library (www.bl.uk)
Will Wikia Search unseat Google? Not likely. However, Jimmy has long stated that three to five percent of the search engine market would be enough to sustain Wikia Search’s business model. The real question is whether or not they’ll be able to get even that.