Knowledge Engine – Wikipedia is working on a transparent search engine
Knowledge Engine – Wikipedia is working on a transparent search engine

Knowledge Engine – Wikipedia is building a transparent search engine to rival Google and others


Online encyclopedia Wikipedia may soon have its own search engine to rival Alphabet’s Google, Microsoft’s Bing and other search engines. Wikipedia received a $250,000(roughly Rs. 1.7 crores) grant from the Knight Foundation for the first year of work on the Knowledge Engine project – The Transparent Search Engine.

The grant was awarded in September 2015, an announcement which was only made available to the public this month. The total budget of the project to build what’s being called the world’s first transparent search engine – Knowledge Engine is estimated at $2.5 million.

Knowledge Engine – Wikipedia is working on a transparent search engine
Knowledge Engine – Wikipedia is working on a transparent search engine

In a $250,000 grant document from the Knight Foundation for media innovation, Wikimedia describes, “Knowledge Engine by Wikipedia will democratize the discovery of media, news and information – it will make the Internet’s most relevant information more accessible and openly curated, and it will create an open data engine that’s completely free of commercial interests.”

“Today, commercial search engines dominate search-engine use of the Internet, and they’re employing proprietary technologies to consolidate channels of access to the Internet’s knowledge and information.”

“Their algorithms obscure the way the Internet’s information is collected and displayed. … Knowledge Engine by Wikipedia will be the Internet’s first transparent search engine, and the first one originated by the Wikimedia Foundation.”

The San Francisco-based non-profit organisation is building a search engine – Knowledge Engine – to provide “a system for discovering reliable and trustworthy public information on the Internet.”

In addition, the organisation has tried to be clearer on the matter and states that “We are not building Google… The Wikimedia movement’s vision is to make the sum of all human knowledge freely available to everyone. Wikipedia is our largest and most well-known project, but there are many other projects like Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata that move us towards realising our vision. These projects have millions of users every month! So, yes, if we can make a search system that’s good enough and meets the needs of our users, people absolutely would use it.”

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales had previously attempted to build a search engine in 2009, but the Wikia project was eventually abandoned due to lack of success. In a blogpost, Jimmy Wales said: “I will return again and again in my career to search, either as an investor, a contributor, a donor, or a cheerleader.”

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