Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is to launch an internet search engine in December. And Wales is bullish - he reckons that Wikia Search will be ready to beat Google, Yahoo and the rest in no more than three years.
Jimmy Wales being bullish isn't much of a story, I accept. But according to The Times of London, Wikimedia's Wales thinks that the secret to beating Google is to utilise his army of eager web users. Where Google and other major search engines use algorithms and web crawlers to rank websites, users of Wikia Search will rank sites themselves. (Which, lets face it, works pretty well in social-bookmarking sites such as Digg.)
"Computers are notoriously bad at making such judgments so algorithmic search has to go about it in a round-about way," said Wales.
"It usually only takes a second to figure out if the page is good, so the key here is building a community of trust."
How good the 'community of trust' will be at trawling through porn sites remains to be seen, but the Wikia Search idea clearly has merit.
There is one potential spoke in the Wikia wheels, however. Where Wikipedia is free to use for anyone who wishes to quickly glean (occasionally accurate) information, Wales intends to make some cash from Wikia Search. How eager unpaid editors are going to be to allow their work to line his pockets remains to be seen.