Wikipedia founder abandons Google search challenge

April 2, 2009
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, seen here, has abandoned the floundering Wikia Search project, launched in January 2008 in an attempt to break the world's addiction to Google's Internet search service

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has abandoned the floundering Wikia Search project, launched in January 2008 in an attempt to break the world's addiction to Google's Internet search service.

The Wikia Search service was shut down Wednesday.

"In a different economy, we would continue to fund Wikia Search indefinitely," Wales wrote in a message posted to his blog Web page.

"It?s something I care about deeply. I will return to again and again in my career to search, either as an investor, a contributor, a donor, or a cheerleader."

remains the undisputed ruler of the US online search market, followed by pioneer Yahoo! and software colossus Microsoft in third place.

Wikia Search showcased short articles written by people on topics, as opposed to traditional Internet search engines that use formulas to track down online information by matching key words or subjects.

Wikia Search was backed by a Wikia Inc. firm launched by Wales and British Internet entrepreneur Angela Beesley in 2004.

Wales said resources will be shifted to Wikia gaming and entertainment networks, as well as a WikiAnswers website at which "answers to all the world's questions" are shared in a questions-and-answers format.

"While I personally believe in the opportunity for free software to make serious inroads into the search space, our project, Wikia Search, has not been enjoying the kind of success that we had hoped," Wales said.

(c) 2009 AFP

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