Wikia, the company led by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, has acquired Grub, a distributed crawling service that will be used to build an index for its Search Wikia project.

Grub, previously owned by LookSmart, has been released  under an open source licence for the first time in four years. It uses volunteers’ idle computing resources to contribute to the project.

Wales claimed last year that internet search was broken – the Search Wikia project aims to provide a better experience than that offered by Google, Yahoo! and the rest.

He said:

“The desire to collaborate and support a transparent and open platform for search is clearly deeply exciting to both open source and businesses. Look for other exciting announcements in the coming months as we collectively work to free the judgment of information from invisible rules inside an algorithmic black box.”

Wales expects to launch the first version of the new search engine in December, though it will not be in its finished form. The aim is to open it up to feedback and community collaboration to improve the search engine.

Further reading:

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Rival to Wikipedia goes live