The founder of Wikipedia has announced plans to put together a community-developed search engine to compete with the likes of Google, Yahoo!, MSN and Ask.

It is reported however, that this site would give power back to web publishers and the general public, by operating under the same kind of user-contributed system that has made Wikipedia so successful.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced on Friday last week that he had began to put together the basics of a search engine based on the open-source platform Grub. Grub was originally conceived by LookSmart with the notion that users could search the internet in the same way as a regular search engine but would have the ability to edit and add to the site to improve performance and encourage transparency.

"If we can get good quality search results, I think it will really change the balance of power from the search companies back to the publishers," he told the conference, adding: "I could be wrong about this, but it seems like a likely outcome."

Wales’ commercial start-up company Wikia purchased the rights to Grub earlier this year. Business website Vnunet reported this week that Wikia is looking to launch the new site by the end of 2007 with both human-assisted editing and computer-controlled searches.

In a statement this week, Wikia announced that the new search platform would be founded on open-source search protocols and that the company had received a promising response from some commercial players in the search engine sector. Wales said that the desire to collaborate from these companies on supporting a transparent search platform was "deeply exciting".

As it stands Grub is now online and available for download and testing until properly up and running. It is hoped however, that it will soon be providing web users with the opportunity to enhance searching with the same kind "social consensus" of Wikipedia.

According to Wikia Search, the company believes that the four organising principles of the future of internet search, which it refers to as TCQP, must be based on transparency, community, quality and privacy.

Associated Press also recently reported on the new European Union-funded search engine entitled Theseus that is said to be well underway having been promised €120 million (£80.7 million) of funding from Europe.

The Theseus Project aims to create a multilingual, multimedia search platform for the next generation of internet users. According to online technology news and blog site TechWhack, it has been designed to not only loosen Google’s grip on the search engine market but is also to look towards the future of the internet.

With the larger search engines such as Google under continued pressure due to privacy policies and the matter of whether or not search sites should be able to hold internet users search information for as long as they currently do, the Wikia and Theseus projects could find themselves being very well timed.

"Look for other exciting announcements in the coming months as we collectively work to free the judgment of information from invisible rules inside an algorithmic black box," Jimmy Wales concluded.

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