Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales went face to face with Bambi Francisco on today's MarketWatch, and shared more about the concept of Search Wikia, a new social search engine designed to combine algorithmic results with user voting and contribution features. Francisco questioned whether or not this social search technology had the power to dethrone Google.
During the TV interview, Wales declined to put a specific number on the "substantial investment" for building out the new search engine, although he said the service should be in open beta within 2-3 months.
Wales fully admitted that the early days of Search Wikia may not produce quality results, just as the initial stages of Wikipedia had its challenges. However, Wales was clear that the ultimate goal is complete transparency and high quality search results.
Danny Sullivan wrote earlier this week on the poor quality of the new Wikiseek tool, though the purpose and functionality is worlds apart from the new engine in the works. Sullivan had previously discussed the driving forces of Search Wikia in another interview with Jimmy Wales.