Earlier today Times Online reported
that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Whales is planning a search engine called Wikiasari
that will launch early next year compete with today's search leaders like Google, Live.com, Yahoo, Ask.com, etc. TechCrunch followed up with a post
that includes a screenshot of the search engine and writers that the first three results will be Wikipedia results.
A source tells us that the working name for the project was "WikiSearch" until recently. It's clear that Wikiasari will be focused on quality first, depth second. Search results will include tag based navigation, the top three results will be wikipedia content, and the remaining results are determined by sites wikipedia considers to be "reputable" because they are external reference links from wikipedia pages.
Since all search results will be tied to wikipedia, either directly by linking to wikipedia content or because the sites are linked to from Wikipedia, real people will eventually be determining all search results and rankings within Wikiasari. The search engine will be opensource, and the index will be available under a GFDL. Wikia will operate the master version of the index, but others are free to take it under the terms of the GFDL.
Wikiasari was originally going to be called Wikisearch. The screenshot TechCrunch posted looks a lot like Google with the placement of the text ads. The big question here is whether people are unhappy with Google enough to leave. Google was able to grow quickly because people were unhappy with the quality of the other search engines. If people are finding what they need by using Google they may not see a reason to change even if a rival search engine is slightly better.