Wikia Search private beta launches
Exactly one year after Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales first announced plans to create a human powered search engine, Wikia Search has launched in private beta. There aren't a ton of details to report right now, but Wales sent a letter to the Wikia Search email list on Sunday evening announcing the private beta, as well as plans for a January 7th public launch.
Last month Wales delivered a speech in South Africa where he showed off a few images of the new search engine. Those pictures looked suspiciously like a social networking web site, but it's possible we were just looking at the personal profile pages for Wikia Search contributors.
The social search field has been heating up quite a bit recently. Mahalo, the human powered search engine created by Weblogs Inc co-founder Jason Calacanis has been up and running for a while now, and now both Wikia and Google are getting into the game. Either the competition will lead to greater innovation and the most useful search engines the world has ever seen, or potential contributors will be overwhelmed with choices that they'll decide it's easier not to bother submitting links to any social search site at all when they can just turn to good old Lycos and AltaVista for their search needs. No, seriously, both of those search engines still exist.