Wikiseek seems to be the hottest news of the day but honestly it is just a poor mashup of the Wikipedia database, a poor quality search engine, and some PPC adverts. Whilst Wikiseek has launched in a huge fanfare, and admittedly is still in beta, my personal opinion is that Wikipedia are taking the wrong direction.
Wikipedia Search – How it could be done
- Take the Wikipedia dataset – yes I know it is subject to occasional spamming, and frequently there are editor problems over who is notable, or should be included, but at the end of the day the majority of sites linked to are of high quality.
- Wikipedia API – at the end of the day, the best Wikipedia search will come about by natural selection. If Wikipedia want peope to be able to find the best search results, they should give developers access
- Shared Revenue – Wikipedia could easily request shared income from any search to monetise the content to help with further development.
- User Choice – allow a user to select which search they use with Wikipedia – List each mashup that is created and meets the Wikipedia guidelines, and let the users decide which to use.
Collaboration Brings Results
The recent collaboration with the OPML file created by Toprank Marketing, SEO search created by Alister Cameron, The Megite created for the SEO and SEM industry, and my eventual SEO Search Toolbar Button is a good example of how one simple dataset can in a short space of time.
A Wikipedia Equivalent?
- Give Access to Wikipedia Data
- Create an OPML File
- Import Wikipedia Data and linked sites to a Google CSE (Custom Search Engine)
- Share the revenue
A Google CSE based on Wikipedia would be highly useful. Wikiseek isn’t.
Through its patented technology and proprietary vertical search engines, Searchme delivers more meaningful and targeted search results to its users.
I would argue that currently the results are not more relevant than the results that can be obtained using Google CSE – maybe that will change in the future, but I don’t have the benefit of hind-sight.
Data Access – a Darwinian Approach
If Wikipedia gave complete access to their data through an API, just like Open Source encourages software development, access to data would improve search.
Developers would be able to create niche specific search engines, encorporating the Wikipedia dataset, but also supplementing the data with their own lists of trusted resources.
Junk Results Examples
Results using Wikipedia’s own search are actually better than these few examples
You have to do a very top level search to gain any reasonable results
Wikisearch, Bloggers and SEO
How does this affect you?
My own opinion currently is it doesn’t. Produce quality good enough to be linked to from Wikipedia, and from other people.
If sometime in the future we all get access to the Wikipedia database through an API, then we might start seeing some creative use of the vast amount of data that has been collected.
You should also listen to Danny’s Daily SearchCast – he rips the quality of the search results apart, and also buries them on the placement of the top Wikipedia results. He did a search on the same blue pills as I did.
It looks like he must have performed the search before me, as I wasn’t getting any results, just an error message.
What are your views?