Palo Alto based startup SearchMe has launched Wikiseek, a new search-engine designed to make it easier to find information published on Wikipedia. The results displayed by Wikiseek are restricted to Wikipedia pages and any links which are referenced within Wikipedia, which SearchMe claims makes it "an authoritative source of information less subject to spam and SEO schemes".
I gave Wikiseek a quick spin and found it to be faster than Wikipedia's own search functionality, and with better results. I particularly like the way it offers on the fly filtering of results by Wikipedia categories, so for example, a search for 'AJAX' can be quickly drilled down to 'web 2.0' to eliminate search results related to the Ajax soccer team!
However, for Wikiseek to become successful it will need to provide better results than the existing horizontal search engines, Google et al, which already do a very good job at indexing Wikipedia. Additionally, by creating a dedicated Wikipedia search-engine, Wikiseek runs the risk of encouraging more spam. Remember anybody can edit Wikipedia entries - including adding related links - so if Wikiseek becomes a good source of traffic for sites that show up in its search results, then spam will likely become an increasing problem.
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