One of the founders of collaborative online encyclopedia site Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, has recently discussed his plans for a user-edited search engine that could one day produce better results than automatic search engines that use algorithms to return data.

Called Search Wikia, or just Wikia, the search engine will, according to a blog post by Wales, “[rely] on human intelligence to do what algorithms cannot”.

It will allow people to contribute the site in two different ways. In the first instance, they can re-sort and edit search results that Wikia finds by moving more relevant sites higher up on the page; these edits will be saved on Wikia's servers.

In the second instance, programmers will be able to help in Wikia's development, as the technology is based on open-source web search software Lucene and Nutch.

Wales hopes to unveil an early version of the software in early 2007, but he calculates it ill take at least 3 years of user editing for it to really be ranked alongside Google and Yahoo searches in terms of usefulness.

In a blog posting on the Search Wikia website, Wales writes: “Search is part of the fundamental infrastructure of the Internet. And, it is currently broken.

“Why is it broken? It is broken for the same reason that proprietary software is always broken: lack of freedom, lack of community, lack of accountability, lack of transparency.

“Here, we will change all that.”