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Wikia Search fails to find favour

An alpha version of the community-driven Wikia search engine has received overwhelmingly negative online commentary since its launch this week
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Written by Marcus Browne on

An alpha version of the Wikia search engine has been unveiled this week and, despite the hype surrounding its appearance, online commentary has been overwhelmingly negative.

"Search is part of the fundamental infrastructure of the internet. And we are making it open source," Wales said in a statement.

Instead of arriving on the web pre-loaded with the complex algorithms required to run a search engine, Wikia Search relies primarily on users to contribute to the platform to increase its effectiveness.

"This site, which we have been working on for a long time now, represents the first draft of the future of search," Wales said.

Since its launch on Monday much debate has arisen surrounding its validity, potential to compete against search giants such as Google and Yahoo, and its current performance — which, according to many reports, is unsatisfactory.

The search engine also comes complete with several other functions, including a social-networking site, and a "miniarticles" function — a stub to a full wiki page that appears above popular search terms.

The platform has attracted a substantial number of negative reviews in its first 24 hours online, with TechCrunch blogger Michael Arrington describing it as "one of the biggest disappointments I've had the displeasure of reviewing".

Wikia Search has so far been criticised for returning poor and inaccurate results, but rather than rushing to its defence, Wales has called the search results available at the moment "pretty bad".

"We are aware that the quality of the search results is low, Wikia's search engine concept is that of trusted user feedback from a community of users acting together in an open, transparent, public way. Of course, before we start, we have no user feedback data," said Wales.

Wales went on to encourage users post "bug reports" through a link provided on the page as the best means of improving searches at this stage, saying in the coming weeks Wikia expect the results to "improve rapidly".

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