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5/1/2007
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Wikia Hires Jabber Founder To Head Up Open-Source Search Project

Jeremie Miller will guide a project designed to make crawlers a commodity to allow search services to proliferate and challenge Google.

Wikia plans to announce Tuesday that it has named Jeremie Miller, founder of the open-source Jabber instant-message platform, to collaborate on building a new open-source Internet search engine.

Wikia was founded by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Wikia selected Miller because of his experience building infrastructure technology, not just desktop software. It also was drawn to his passion and enthusiasm for open source, which will translate to leadership for the project.

"He joined effective today," Wikia CEO Gil Penchina said Monday in an interview. "He is off to the races and drawing things on the whiteboard already."

Wikia hopes to enable the growth of a plethora of specialized and second-tier search engines by turning the crawler and other search technologies into commodities. "Why are there hundreds of companies crawling the Web? Why isn't that a commodity?" Penchina said. By open-sourcing and commoditizing the crawler and other components, Wikia hopes to allow search engines to focus on more important technologies.

Wikia is also looking to make search algorithms open and fair, so that any Web site can tell why it's ranked the way it is.

"For developers, it would be kind of cool to say, 'Google has 11 gazillion dollars, and we're going to get a bunch of people together on the Internet, and we're going to kick their butts,'" Wales said in a February presentation during which he described the plans for open-source search..

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