Wikia Search project abandoned


Following poor traffic, Wikia Search will be shut down, says Jimmy Wales, trustee of the Wikimedia foundation. It was originally intended to be a search engine where users could influence the ranking of results, but recently it’s struggled for traffic – attracting just 10,000 unique users per month ovedr the last six months.

Wales says: “This one is too far away. It was going to take at least a another year to two before it’s usable by the public, and we can’t afford that right now. I’ll return to this again when the economy is good.”

Part of Wikia Search’s decline can probably be attributed to Google SearchWiki, launched last November, which allows users to comment and influence, though not fully determine, the rankings of individual results on Google searches.

Wales also discussed Microsoft’s shuttering of Encarta, commenting that it’s “disappointing to see a center of knowledge going away”. He said that he’d been attempting to contact Microsoft about integrating some of Encarta’s content into Wikipedia. Due to Encarta’s relatively small size, however, “the community probably wouldn’t find it useful. However, the images might be useful.”.

Wikia Search (via Cnet)

Google kills its 'lively' virtual world


Google has, this morning, taken the rare step of closing down one of the services that it runs. It’s ‘Lively’ virtual world was launched earlier this year, but recently it’s been anything but lively, with extremely low visitor numbers compared to its competitors like Second Life.

Google is recommending that anyone who’s created anything that they desperately want to keep should take some screenshots and capture video of their creations before they’re rendered inaccessible at the end of December. All team members assigned to the project will be moved elsewhere.

It’s a pity but Google’s foray into virtual worlds was, at the time, seen as a bit of a strange move. This shuttering is to be expected, considering the low population in the world, and the lack of synergy with any of Google’s other offerings. Right now, Google’s got more important things to focus on.

Lively (via the Official Google Blog)

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