The founder of Wikipedia, the popular user-edited online encyclopedia, is developing a wiki-based search engine to compete with established commercial search engines from Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

Jimmy Wales announced plans to develop the search engine, to be named “Wikiasari,” or “Wikia,” for short, in a Dec. 23 online posting.

The Wikimedia Foundation Inc., which manages the Web site Wikipedia.com, emphasizes that the search engine project is not associated with the foundation. Wales said that current search engine technology, using complex algorithms to complete searches, is broken. “It is broken for the same reason that proprietary software is always broken: lack of freedom, lack of community, lack of accountability and lack of transparency. Here, we will change all that,” he wrote at the site search.wikia.com.

Wales promotes Wikia as “a new kind of search engine, which relies on human intelligence to do what algorithms cannot.” He invited members of the Wiki community to help design the Wikia search engine, which he described as “an open-source alternative for Web search.”

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