Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder, is set to enter the search engine fray in collaboration with Amazon, perhaps as early as Q1 2007, according to Times Online reports:
"The project has been dubbed Wikiasari , a combination of wiki, the Hawaiian word for quick, and asari, which is Japanese for “rummaging search”… he secured multimillion-dollar funding from amazon.com and a separate cash injection from a group of Silicon Valley financiers to finance projects at Wikia (his for-profit company)."
Wales cites a need to address “obvious flaws” in the search engine technology of Google, the industry leader:
'Google is very good at many types of search, but in many instances it produces nothing but spam and useless crap. Try searching for the term ‘Tampa hotels’, for example, and you will not get any useful results.'
Spammers and commercial ventures are also learning how to manipulate Google’s computer-based search, he added. Mr. Wales believes that Google’s computer-based algorithmic search program is no match for the editorial judgment of humans.
Wales asserts he can implement a human-based solution to trump Google’s machine-based algorithim:
'If you consider one of the basic tasks of a search engine, it is to make a decision: this page is good, this page sucks. Computers are notoriously bad at making such judgments, so algorithmic search has to go about it in a roundabout way. But we have a really great method for doing that ourselves. We just look at the page. It usually only takes a second to figure out if the page is good, so the key here is building a community of trust that can do that.'
As cited, the Wikiasari search model does not present itself as “trustworthy.”
What about Wale’s track record with Wikipedia?
In “Web 2.0 smackdown: intellectuals vs. amateurs in Citizendium” and “Wikipedia and its ‘bad seed’: Is Web 2.0 a friend of true knowledge?” I cite Larry Sanger, Wikipedia co-founder, on numerous “serious and endemic problems” afflicting Wikipedia and its community and present his belief that “we can and should do better” than an "amateur" Wikipedia.
In “Social freeloaders: Is there a collective wisdom and can the Web obtain it?” I cite Wales asking that college students refrain from citing Wikipedia as a source of academic research:
Speaking at the Annenberg School for Communication, Wales said that while Wikipedia is useful for many things, he would like to make it known that he does not recommend it to college students for serious research and that Wikipedia has considered putting out a fact sheet on the site, it would explain the nature of Wikipedia and why it’s not always a definitive source. Teachers could hand it out, he said.