Wikia released an alpha version of what should become a freely licensed search engine. Its name, not particularly innovative, is “wikia search” and that’s what will create confusion among many users in the future – especially among those who don’t understand the difference between wikia and Wikipedia.
And to make these things clear from the very start for the Search Engine Oracle readers, I’ll publish here the two definitions that clearly differentiate the two Web resources quoted in this article.
Wikipedia is a user generated encyclopedia. Its topics cover almost anything you can think about. Wikipedia is so complex due to the passion and dedication of the people who edit it. They add new content, correct erroneous entries, improve already existent wikis and so on. The contributors are not paid for their work. Everything you see online at the Wikipedia is the result of pure love for the truth, for culture, history and in the final analysis deep care for humanity. The idea that human knowledge should be free and open for all is the very force that drives Wikipedia.
Wikia on the other hand is more of a host for community content. Wikia is very selective as to the content hosted on its pages and refuses personal wikis or wikis for small groups. The wikis are useful for collaborative work – and could be very effective when used by students and other large groups to develop and interact on topic of interest.
Wikia search is a not a search engine, but a project to build a search engine that will base its results on the users’ feedback. Unfortunately for this new wikia project the media and some bloggers misunderstood its purpose and they already criticize its scope. Personally I see the potential and what is more I see the functionality. Fortunately there are still journalists able to relate a story in an unbiased manner.