Open-source Wikia Search adds tool to customize results

Businesses can provide enhanced search results for specific keywords.

Wikia Search, an open-source search tool launched early this year by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, today opened its platform with a new application programming interface (API) that allows individuals or business to create interactive search results.

The Wikia Intelligent Search Extension (WISE) platform, announced Wednesday, provides APIs that let third parties provide enhanced search results called WISEApps for specific keywords.

Wikia Inc., developer of the engine, said the enhanced results should cut back on the steps that users often must take to find the specific information they are searching for.

Early WISE users include The Washington Post, Thomson Reuters, Digg, Twitter and others that are using the platform to better customize search results.

"One of the founding principles of the Wikia Search project is the belief that for a search engine to be truly open, it must have continued input from a vibrant community," Wales, co-founder and chairman, Wikia, Inc, said in a statement. "While others have announced they're simply 'experimenting' with allowing user input on search results, the Wikia Search project continues to seek ways to provide unmatched levels of input from users."

Among the other businesses releasing WISEApps include:

AccuWeather.com, to provide graphically-enhanced three-day weather forecasts to people searching for local weather information;

AcronymFinder, to provide acronyms, abbreviations and meanings to the results of relevant queries;

Creative Commons, to provide Creative Commons-licensed images to the results of relevant queries;

Digg, to provide recent front page Digg stories to the results of relevant queries;

Indeed, to provide its job listings to people searching the Web for employment;

Twitter, to provide relevant Tweets to specific queries; and

Yelp, to provide pertinent information to people looking for information about local businesses.

While Wikia Search and Cuil - a search engine unveiled with much fanfare in July by ex-Googlers - have generated buzz as the latest crop of would-be Google killers. However, according to a report released in late August by Internet measurement firm Hitwise, the two new engines have so far failed to make a dent in the search market still dominated by Google.

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Heather Havenstein

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