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Another Google Killer Dies

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 31, 2009

When Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales launched his search service Wikia Search in late 2006, he was hoping to “fix Internet search by working to free the judgment of information from invisible rules inside an algorithmic black box.” Meaning he was hoping to do a number on Google.

Not anymore. Today, he announced he’s giving up on the service. “If there is one thing that I’ve learned in my career,” he wrote on his blog, “it is to do more of what’s working, and less of what’s not.” And Wikia Search, which used human collaboration like on Wikipedia in an attempt to produce better search results, clearly wasn’t working.

Indeed, it probably didn’t help that, as the Wikia Search site itself admits, “the quality of the search results is low.” And so Google repels another supposed Google killer.

But there are plenty more still trying, even some in the same vein, such as Mahalo. What’s more, Wales says he hasn’t given up for good: “In a different economy, we would continue to fund Wikia Search indefinitely,” he wrote. “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.”

So as long as Google keeps minting money, would-be rivals will keep trying.

Reader Comments

Gregory Kohs

April 1, 2009 10:28 AM

Strange. I said from Day One that Wikia Search would not work, because its leader isn't reliable and transparent.

In fact, my letter to the editor of Fast Company appeared in the second issue after the "Google Killer" claptrap cover story.

I got called a "troll", for being right. Once again.

Maybe people will start listening to me now?

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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