It’s hard enough to go up against the like of Google when the economy is humming along. Add in the fact that Google is so far in the lead in search it may just be downright discouraging to potential competitors due to the mountain they need to climb to compete. Giving a nod to the economy, it was announced today that Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia fame was shutting the effort down for now.
Designed to be a search engine of the people the Wikia Search service was developed with the idea of allowing users to determine the rankings of sites and pages for all other users. As reported at cnet, Wales was prepared to look at this as a long term project but usability for the public was one or two years away from reality. Considering the state of the economy it was decided to put the project to rest but Wales said that he would return to it when the economy got better.
Wales summed it up like this
In a different economy, we would continue to fund Wikia Search indefinitely. It’s something I care about deeply. I will return to again and again in my career to search, either as an investor, a contributor, a donor, or a cheerleader.
But for now, we will be closing the doors on the Wikia Search project (as of March 31, 2009) and will be re-directing and refocusing resources on other Wikia.com properties, especially on Wikianswers. Join me there to help provide freely licensed answers to all the world’s questions.
Google has somewhat tipped its cap to the idea of giving searchers some control over search results with its SearchWiki service. Unlike Wikia Search, the reach of the searchers adjustments are not used to influence overall rankings. They are just used to further “personalize” search results for the user. Is anyone using this by the way?