Wiki to play Google at its own game?
Rumours have been flying around the internet regarding Wikipedia’s supposed intention to set up a search engine to rival Google.
It came after a Newsweek article stated that the Knowledge Engine project has been developed by Wikipedia to provide a “system for discovering reliable and trustworthy public information on the Internet.”
The parent company, Wikimedia Foundation, has been reported as applying for a $25,000 grant from the Knight Foundation. The project seemed to point towards an apparent attempt to undermine the largest worldwide search engine in their application for funding, “Commercial search engines dominate search-engine use of the Internet, and they’re employing proprietary technologies to consolidate channels of access to the Internet’s knowledge and information.”
Since then, Wikimedia Foundation have clarified their stance, claiming they have zero intention of setting up competition with Google. In a recent blog post they state that the money they are hoping to receive will have a more internal focus.
The authors, executive director Lila Tretikov and vice president of product, Wes Moran, claim they are simply improving the search functions across the 35 million articles they have published.
“At the Wikimedia Foundation, we see a clear need to improve search and discovery on the Wikimedia projects. Improvements will help our users access and share in the knowledge they seek, and in doing so, bring us closer to reaching our mission and helping open knowledge stay accessible and relevant.”
The confusion is understandable. Initial statements from the Foundation asked, “Would users go to Wikipedia if it were an open channel beyond an encyclopedia?… “Knowledge Engine by Wikipedia will democratize the discovery of media, news and information – it will make the Internet’s most relevant information more accessible and openly curated, and it will create an open data engine that’s completely free of commercial interests.”
However, co-founder Jimmy Wales confirmed in a post last week, “There is nothing at all about the Knight grant which is in any way related to or suggestive of a google-like (sic) search engine.”