Online encyclopedia Wikipedia has launched a $2.5 million program to build “the Internet’s first transparent search engine.”

Wikimedia Discovery, originally known as the Knowledge Engine, is being developed initially through funds granted to Wikipedia’s parent organization, the Wikimedia Foundation, and takes direct aim at major search engines like Google.

Wikimedia’s application for a $250,000 grant from the Knight Foundation states: “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.”

The new search engine does not aim to immediately replace Google as a general purpose search engine, according to the foundation, as it will only draw on information from Wikipedia and its other free knowledge projects. Eventually, it is hoped that other sources of open knowledge could be incorporated, such as the U.S. Census Bureau.

Wikimedia Discovery aims to provide a “system for discovering reliable and trustworthy public information on the Internet.” The grant highlights critical features to help achieve this, including no advertising, protected user privacy, and open data access to metadata that would give users the exact data source of their information.

-More at Newsweek


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