More than six years after the launch of Omniscient Online Oracle, Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales has embarked on an even more ambitious project : taking mighty Giant Google heads-on with Wikia (opens in new tab).
Like Wikipedia way back in 2001, Wikia (opens in new tab) debut is far from being exceptional and like its older brother, Wikia will also depend on voluntary input by people and experts - the wisdom of crowds - in order to improve the quality of the search engine.
Unlike Wikipedia though, Wikia will be selling ads on the website as soon as the service gathers enough momentum.
In a comment post on Centernetworks, Jimmy Wales acknowledges that it might take at least a couple of years before Wikia matures and in another entry on Techcrunch, he agrees that while the search "sucks today", the real point is that they're building something different.
Whether the search engine has such a period of time to spare is something that remains to be seen especially with formidable rivals like Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Mahalo and Ask around.
Another bone of contention is the fact that Wikia is based on an open source software called Nutch (opens in new tab) which works with a pool of pages created by Grub which was acquired by Wikia.
Michael Arrington rightly observes that Wikia looks to become a social network search engine as it tries to integrate basic elements of a social network web site.
Bottom line though is that first impression matters and if the webosphere is any indication of the welcome Wikia had today, then the project will have a difficult start.