A Search Engine for the People

Loraine Lawson

What would you do if you could build your own Google-esque search engine, but at a fraction of the cost?


You may soon be able to find out. TechWorld reports that the co-founder of Wikipedia is trying to put search engine technology into the hands of the public through a combination of open source tools -- including the indexing, search page software, ranking algorithm and filter. There are also plans for a SETI-esque volunteer program that would tap unused computer processing power from volunteers to do the hard work of crawling the Web for indexing.


The company responsible is called Wikia and is billed as a competitor to Google. But, as the article notes, Wikia considers its competition to be cost -- not any one search company. If Wikia has its way, you could build your own search engine for a mere $500, as opposed to the $5-10 million it would cost you know.


Wikia's founders aren't sure how they will make money off their open source project. But they're sure it will -- a philosophy that brings me back to the heedy, care-free days of the Internet. We were like so many South Park Underwear Gnomes: Step one: Collect underwear. Step 2: Shrug? Step Three: Profit!


And speaking of the early part of the decade, Palm -- creator of such such useful devices as the Palm Pilot -- hasn't given up on its less spectacular Foleo. I confess, when Palm Pilot creator Jeff Hawkins said he had developed a new device that would revolutionize mobile devices, I believed him. Heck, I publicly blogged about it. Ah, the shame!


But Palm and Hawkins are pressing forward with the Foleo, which is being marketed as a mobile companion that's basically for e-mail. Erik Larkin of PC World got to test drive the Foleo, which is expected to be released this summer, which I guess means any day now, since summer's last days are drawing nigh. Larkin is skeptical of the Foleo's staying power, especially since, at $600, you could have a used laptop, which Larkin thinks would be better than the Foleo, or a Treo, which he felt would be just about as good, but would fit in his pocket. LinuxWorld recently ran his review.

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