Jimmy Wales Quietly Shuts Down Wikia Search

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has announced that Wikia search, which was once presented as a potential rival to Google, will be closing down only 15 months after it was launched.

The search engine was based on the same concept as Wikipedia which has become the 7th most visited website in the world.

By harnessing the power of communities, Wikia was hopping to get real people to determine results through user ratings and inputs but life started difficultly for the alternative search engine which was built using an open source platform called Nutch.

Wikia has been one of the fastest growing community destination, reaching 3.76 million members in February 2009 according to Nielsen. But that was not enough to deter Wales from shutting down the operation.

Writing on his blog, Wales argued that the collapsing economy has dealt a fatal blow to his ambitions for Wikia search. He said that "In a different economy, we would continue to fund Wikia Search indefinitely. It’s something I care about deeply. I will return to again and again in my career"

Resources used on Wikia search will be redirected on other Wikia.com properties with the main focus being on Wikianswers. The latter wants to position itself as a rival to Yahoo Answers and to WikiAnswers (from Answers.com).

The closing down of Wikia sheds doubts about the future of other human powered search engines like Chacha and Mahalo. In the meantime, Google had launch Searchwiki as well which picked up some of the more interesting features in Wikia.

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Our Comments

A few hours after Microsoft closed Encarta mainly because of Jimmy Wales' Wikipedia, the latter has had to announce that Wikia had to be shut down partly because of Google. That's what I call irony.The economy is forcing companies, big and small, to prune non-productive projects and features. For example, Google has already managed to cull Notebook and Jaiku.

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