Does the world need open-source search tools? The people at Wikipedia think so.
The folks behind the public encyclopedia have launched Wikia, a project to develop a search engine, crawlers and other indexing tools through a collaborative, open-source process.
Contributors will likely include graduate students as well large companies that want to include search functionality in their products but don't want to pay royalties to a search company, according to Wikia CEO Gil Penchina. Another constituency will likely be smaller search companies that don't have the time or money to do everything required for a complete search service themselves.
"Everyone has to crawl the Web, but it costs a lot of money," Penchina said. "There has been a lot of interest in academia for better tools."