"I've said before that Internet search must be more open and transparent and today marks a major milestone in our mission to make it just that," Wales told Reuters.
Jeremie Miller, founder of Jabber and Wikia Search Architect, added, "Search is becoming one of the most powerful tools humankind has ever created-only transparency and open participation will protect these tools from abuse."
The open source search engine will rely on user contributions and search rankings. Wikia Search can execute basic search queries, which can be discussed and ranked by anyone. It can also be used for social networking-creating a personal profile, adding friends, sharing photos and managing privacy setting. In addition, anyone can write and edit mini articles. Writing those articles, substantitive information associated with search terms, is the most important thing users can do to move the alpha efforts forward, according to the site.
The Wikia Search website acknowledges the product's alpha status with the statement, "We are aware that the quality of the search results is low. Of course, before we start, we have no user feedback data."
But that status has been met with harsh reviews by some, including a blogger at the popular tech blog Mashable who wrote, "Every time I review a new search engine I am instantly reminded of how well works." And the influential entitled his TechCrunch review "Wikia Search Is a Complete Letdown." He also detailed the new search engine's failings, saying "it may be one of the biggest disappointments I've had the displeasure of reviewing. " Criticisms surround the search engine's poor results and lack of a "human" element.