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Man vs. Machine


© December 2006 Anthony Lawrence

There's been some interest "human powered search". The base idea is that Google fails us miserably in some areas, which is certainly true enough. Starting from truth doesn't guarantee that you end up anywhere useful, of course. For example there has been a bit of buzz about Wikia, which is an attempt to revive an older project that died for lack of interest.

A lot of the fuss about this came from misunderstandings and bad reporting, most of which seemed to miss the obvious; we all know that there are things that Google (or any programmatic search engine) doesn't do well, and we already know where to turn when it doesn't: that's why we have Digg, Wikipedia, Craig's List and many others. While we can't assume that there never will be a "Google Killer", I think we can safely say that no human based search engine will ever bring them down. Why? Because Google does things no human ever can. Google finds text inside pages that humans might never notice; see, for example, Keyword Value.

My bet is that Wikia dies away just as its earlier attempt did.

Update from Wikipedia:

Wikia, Inc. initially proposed creating a copyleft search engine; the
software (but not the site) was named "Wikiasari" by a November 2004
naming contest.[nb 2] The proposal became inactive in 2005.[citation
needed] The "public alpha" of Wikia Search web search engine was launched
on January 7, 2008,[citation needed] from the USSHC underground data
center.[33] This roll-out version of the search interface was roundly
panned by reviewers in technology media.[34] The project was ended in
March 2009.[35] Late in 2009, a new search engine was established to
index and display results from all sites hosted on Wikia.[citation needed]
 

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Mon Apr 6 19:50:59 2009: 6023   TonyLawrence

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And of course it did die: (link)



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Generally, old media don't die. They just have to grow old gracefully. Guess what, we still have stone masons. They haven't been the primary purveyors of the written word for a while now of course, but they still have a role because you wouldn't want a TV screen on your headstone. (Douglas Adams)




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