Wikia has acquired Grub, a ditributed web crawling technology, from Looksmart, Wikia co-founder Jimmy Wales announced this morning during his keynote address at the at the OÄôReilly Open Source Convention in Portland, Oregon. The technology will be added to their Search Wikia Labs project in an effort to create an "open and transparent" search engine that combines a "distributed user-contributed processing network, with the power of a wiki to form social consensus," according to a press releaseAs part of their ongoing quest to create an open, people-powered search platform,
Grub, which works something like the SETI@Home project by using spare processor cycles donated by users to crawl the web, will become an open source technology located at Grub.org. The source code will be released "as soon as possible." Emre Sokullu wrote about building an open source distributed Google clone back in May, and envisioned a project that seems similar to Wales' goal.
"WeÄôve had a tremendous response from very interesting commercial players in the search space," said Wales. "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."
Michael Grubb, Senior Vice President, Technology, and Chief Technology Officer at LookSmart -- name just a coincidence as far as I know, said in a release that Looksmart was "pleased to collaborate with Wikia and believe that Grub will thrive under an open source license."
The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.