Wikia Search was launched in Alpha earlier this year and we have been watching it out of the corner of our eye to gauge its progress. At first, wow, it was bad. The search results were slow and chocked full of irrelevant sites. But, hey, it was only an alpha release and creating a new search engine is a HUGE undertaking.
Then in June ’08, the alpha was re-launched. They knew the results were bad and needed to improve before they could become a real player in the search engine market and they expected the results to begin to show improvement within a few weeks.
So, what do we think now that about 2 months have passed since Alpha relaunch? Well, wow, it is bad.
Here is what a search for “buy computer online” will show:
- An article about Best Buy from Wikipedia. Ok, fair enough if you want to give props to Wikipedia first above all else, even though that does not help me buy a computer online. Maybe a link to Dell or HP or something like that would be more helpful.
- A link to ebay’s main search page where I have to retype my search query “buy computer online”. Well, at least it is possible to actually buy a computer from the site you directed me to. But could you not at least direct me to the Electronics category or even, *cough* the Computers category?
- A link to about.com where I can download computer games. But wait, I have not even bought my computer yet – I am trying to make a purchase first and then I can download and install games. Proverbial “cart before the horse” I think.
- A link to Apple’s home page where I can at least see a computer, eventually, after I first wade through the gaudy iPhone pitch and then stumble on the little button at the top that says, “Mac” – assuming I know what a Mac is and am not a complete computer novice.
- A link to a site that will tell me how to make money online (refer to comments on #3 listing).
- A link to oreilly.com where I can download PDF files and a bunch of other stuff that is no help because I still do not have a computer yet.
- A link to the Scottsdale Public Library, which is possibly where I am physically located because I still do not have my own computer and am using one of theirs.
- I give up…
What’s is more, at the top of my search page is a small graphic that prompts me to see results from Google and Yahoo. Wait, I thought that was one of the points behind WikiaSearch – to take market share away from Google and Yahoo.
Anyway, I would not hold your breath on a Beta launch of Wikia Search anytime soon. They are way behind nearly every other search engine in the Internet and the main way the intend on improving is by having you and I edit their search results telling them when we find something irrelevant. I think the concept is good, but I don’t have time to do that. A search engine is not a destination; it is a waypoint. I want to type in my query and move on.