Well I’m still in Dublin and my Internet access is still not stellar – so today I’m going to mention something I read in the newspaper over the weekend.
Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org) founder, Jimmy Wales is building a search engine that is going to debut is December. Wikipedia is the popular community-written online encyclopedia. It has 8.2 million articles in 253 languages. (That compares to 500,00o articles in Encyclopedia Britannica.) Article are written and modified by volunteers/readers. Mostly I like Wikipedia. I find that the articles I have looked at have been pretty well balanced – and the portions that are biased are usually somehow labeled as opinion, not fact. However, I know that Wikipedia has received criticism for articles that are biased and/or less than professional.
The proposed search engine (Wikia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikia,_Inc.) will be a mix of computer and community. Apparently the code for the search engines will be open for anyone to change (if they have the technical skill) for those of us who are less technical, we can participate by ranking web sites as they come up on the search engine.
I have seen some of these social search engines in the past and have not been hugely impressed – mostly because I’m not sure who, if anyone, takes the time to rank the results unless they have something to gain by artificially inflating or deflating results. On the other hand, Wikipedia has some 4,000 editors so if anyone can encourage participation I think the Wikipeida folks can do it.