“Democratic” Search Engine Unveils Improvements

A newly improved search engine aims to redefine the way we think about rank by putting power into the users’ hands.

Wikia Search is relaunching with several new features today. As the name might suggest, the utility lets you actually customize and edit search results. You can add or delete results from any given search — something the big league search sites would sooner shut down than allow.

The updated Wikia Search includes the ability to rank items, add “related site” entries to a find, comment on entries, and even access a Google or Yahoo search from within the Wikia results. The site is also toying with the idea of some social networking features such as personal profiles and the ability to make “friends.”

Wikia makes its belief in transparency quite clear. You can look at a list of recent changes to entries to track how and by whom any given result was modified. The site’s list of principles even takes a shot at the major search engines’ insistence upon keeping their results and their methods so closely guarded.

So can searching really work as an open and democratic process? It’ll sure be interesting to watch this one and see how it affects things. We’ve all grown accustomed to Google’s complex and untouchable algorithm-based methods. I don’t know that Wikia Search’s concept will ever knock that kind of system out of the mainstream, but it definitely adds an interesting twist into the equation — particularly for SEO-focused web developers who might have to cater to a different kind of ranking protocol.