Wikipedia founder to launch search engine

March 8, 2007 at 3:22 PM

TOKYO, March 8 (UPI) -- A Wikipedia company will build an Internet search engine that lets users improve on the system, the Internet encyclopedia founder said in Tokyo Thursday.

The Wikia Inc. search engine plans to capture as much as 5 percent of the search market and its collaborative search technology could transform the Internet's power structure, Jimmy Wales said.

Wales criticized Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. for keeping search technologies under wraps and not letting users improve on the process.

"We welcome competition," Google told United Press International in a statement, adding it was "more focused on search innovation ... than ever before."

Yahoo! did not immediately respond to a UPI query for comment.

Wales said the Wikia search engine's constant technological improvement would also give it a leg up on the increasing problem of search-result spam, BetaNews reported.

"Search is part of the fundamental infrastructure of the Internet. And it is currently broken," Wales said on a wiki devoted to the project. "It is broken for the same reason that proprietary software is always broken: lack of freedom, lack of community, lack of accountability, lack of transparency. Here, we will change all that."

Wales said his venture had received a $4 million investment from "angel investors" as well as a "very large investment" from Amazon.com Inc.

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