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The People Take On Google

The "wiki" concept is one of many Web 2.0 phenomena that blew up in 2006, most notably Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia created and maintained by the public that (almost) anyone can add to or edit. Ranked 15th on the list of the top worldwide Web destinations, now Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, is taking his wisdom-in-crowds ethos and applying it to Web search.

Look out Google, here comes "us," as in the collective Time Magazine ceremoniously bestowed its "Person of the Year" award. Like Wikipedia, Wales plans to rely on volunteers to keep searches fine-tuned and up to date.

There are two ways people can contribute to Wikiasari, as the new project is called. (We think it already needs a new name, too). The first is to conduct a search (it uses a similar system to Google's Page Rank) and then click "edit" to reorder the results based on relevance.

Over time, Wikiasari will return results in the order saved by most users. The second way is reserved for computer programmers. Wikiasari uses open source Web search technology that will be available to the public. This will obviously be closely guarded, but the fact that anyone can view the inner workings of the search engine is in sharp contrast to Google and Yahoo, which keep their search secrets on pain of death.

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