The Wikia search engine launched today, albeit in an alpha form. This is part of what looks like an ongoing cold-war between the Wikipedia folk and Google, Wikia Search and Knols being the two technologies that tred on each others’ turf (Wikia and wikipedia are hardly the same, and the relationship between them isn’t entirely straightforward. But the similarity in names isn’t accidental either).
I’m a pretty big Wikipedia booster. I’ll take the moment to say that everyone, absolutely everyone who knows anything, should edit Wikipedia. Especially philosophers, since the philosophy coverage is varied with a lot of terrible mixed in. For the time being, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s the primary source of information for people in our generation, so improving it is really important.
That digression aside, I think it’s a bad sign for wikia search that I still have no idea what it is. Being interested in wikipedia didn’t lead to me knowing that, nor did following a good number of blogs that discuss the tubes. It’s a search engine, I suppose, but it seems that it has some cute web 2.0 social business that’ll make it a Google killer. Or maybe it’s not supposed to be a Google killer. You want to try looking at that front-page and figure out anything of import? I have no idea why I’d prefer it to Google, or what it is, or how I’d go about contributing to it. (Here’s a business week article that quasi-explains it, but I didn’t want to spoil my befuddlement for you).