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January 07, 2008

Wikia Search - Google Killer....Hardly

By Li Evans

Wikiasearchlogo It really seems like only yesterday when the whole Wikiasari and Wikia Search debacle of information hit the blogosphere.  However, here we are a year later that the anointed "Google Killer", Wikia Search has launched.

Wikia Search has a very, very long way to go.  Maybe one day it will become this sleeping giant, but with the way it is now, Dear Lord, I really wonder who other than the Wikipedia faithful would use it?  Yes, I know it does not have an article about SEO, but seriously, lets look at some everyday examples to judge it a little better.

Wikia Search for GreyhoundsI first took a look at a search on "Greyhounds".  I looked at Wikia Search, and just was like "HUH"?  Seriously a great big "HUH"?  The very first entry, other than noticing no article about Greyhounds - even though Wikipedia has an extensive one, was a site who happens to sell 4 pieces of glass works featuring Greyhounds.  Now, how does that help me find out information about Greyhounds?  Nice glass work, but most people searching for information on Greyhounds are looking to Rescue them or find out information about the Greyhound Racing Industry.  When you look at a search for "Greyhounds" in Google, Yahoo, Ask and Live, these are the relevant search results people are looking for.  And hey guess what?  Wikipedia's article on Greyhounds ranks in the top 5 in every single one of those engines (Ask has there's on the side).

Wikia Search for Ansel AdamsOk, ok so that's just one.  I was fair, I did three - so next we have "Ansel Adams".  For those who don't know Ansel Adams was one of America's legendary photographers, primarily using black and white.  Wikipedia has a pretty darn extensive article on him, too.  Think Wikia Search is using it?  Not a chance.  The results are a little better than for Greyhounds, but not by much.  At least they have the Ansel Adams official website #1, unlike with the Greyhound search, the Greyhound League's website was #2.  There's also no links or displays of works by Ansel Adams, which every other major search engine has (Google, Yahoo, Ask & Live).

Wikia Search for Barack ObamaFinally I looked at a rather timely and probably really popular search term "Barack Obama".  Wikipedia has a great amount of information on him, but they have only 3 sentences in the article on him in Wikia Search, and if I were the Barack Obama campaign I'd be on that fast - like today.  Do you think the Wikipedia entry shows up at all in a search for "Barack Obama" in Wikia Search?  Sadly again it does not. 
The even bigger let down?  Barack Obama's 2008 Presidential Campaign site is no where to be found in the top 10 listings.  Now how's that for relevancy?  His senate page on the .gov site is there (and it's only #3), but as of this writing, it is just not there.  Google, Yahoo, Ask and Live all have his presidential campaign website in the top 10 if not at #1.

Sure Wikia Search is just starting out, but honestly, in today's search industry - you need to come out of the gate with a heck of a lot more than this to get people to notice.  The one thing that they could leverage in a big way isn't even being utilized in "every day" type of searches - Wikipedia. 

There's no links to news pieces, images or even videos in the results like all the other major search engines have - so why would I want to go back to user interface from "2005" (or later)?  There's no real relevancy either, it's not giving me viable results when you compare it to the other major search engines.  And honestly - I give this less than a month before the spammers have it filled with utter crap and totally abusing the articles section.

I ask you these questions:

  • Why would someone want to use a search engine that doesn't display the way Ask, Google or Yahoo does?
  • Why would I use Wikia Search over Wikipedia when Wikipedia gives me more relevant information than the search results at Wikia Search?
  • Why would I use a search engine who doesn't display it's own relevant articles at the top, when it's got total access to them because they are part of the Wikia Universe?
  • Why would I use a search engine who (again) has access to Wikipedia articles that all 4 major search engines deem highly relevant, and doesn't even list them in their own results?

I won't be using Wikia Search nor suggesting anyone does till they figure out this isn't 2005.  Until I hear they are incorporating Wikipedia's articles into the articles section, I won't be taking a 2nd look either.  Heck Mahalo and Squiddo give you a heck of a lot more than this.

And just a footnote to this review, I didn't know that Ask had this really funky "dog breed" pull down feature.  When I did the search of Greyhounds on Ask, I was presented with a section at the top all about the Greyhound breed, and could search for other breeds just by using the pull down.  Pretty darn neat Ask! :)

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Comments

Li, I like your analysis. At least you took the time to test a bit wikia search before completely burring it under negative comments. I would just like to point out that wikia search is not a search engine just yet. It is still a project to create a search engine, based on collective user input, pretty much as Wikipedia was created (to offer a platform where each individual can edit and submit information about anything known to man). Wikia search will be a collaborative effort. I wouldn't call it a Google killer, - it will not lead to the same type of search engine anyway. But I think it has potential.

Thanks for stopping by Mihaela :)

Just have to say I was extremely disappointed with it since there was so much hype about it for almost a year.

Out of the gate you really need a lot more these days that what Wikia Search has right now. Hopefully you'll take some of what I wrote to heart and incorporate it. It would be nice to see someone give Google a run for its money, unfortunately right now Wikia Search just isn't it.

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