Searchme debuts new Wikiseek search engine for Wikipedia

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Searchme Inc., a new search company launched by venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, will take on Google and Yahoo with the launch of a search engine at www.wikiseek.com.

The company claims Wikiseek is a vastly improved search engine for the popular, user-edited reference Web site, Wikipedia. Wikiseek is available as a destination site as well as part of Wikipedia as a Firefox extension.

"Wikipedia is a fantastic sandbox for exploring the intersection of community editing and vertical search," said John Holland, founder and chief marketing officer of Searchme, Palo Alto, CA. "Wikiseek functions as a showcase for our search tools, as well as a living laboratory for improving our search technology."

Wikiseek is based on technology developed by Searchme, which uses recommendations of thousands of vertical search engines to deliver relevant search results, resulting in a faster, richer Wikipedia search experience.

Wikiseek is being released in beta. It will be updated and improved continuously based on user feedback and new pages from Wikipedia.

The service is expected to have significantly less search engine optimization spam because only "authoritative" pages, approved by Wikipedia editors, will be included.

The search engine is available under a GPL or open source license, contains no advertising and works with the Firefox browser.

Wikiseek is accessible from any browser and features keyword ads. Wikiseek will donate a majority of the site's advertising revenue to the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia .

"The major challenge in search is that as the Internet grows, horizontal search engines are delivering less relevance, and more spam," Mr. Holland said. "Instead of searching the whole Web, Wikiseek improves relevance by only searching Wikipedia and sites that have been approved by Wikipedia editors. This means higher quality search results and less spam for users, as well as more efficient ad targeting for advertisers."

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