At a gathering of about 100 of some of South Africa’s top geeks on Tuesday night, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales revealed what he said were some of the “first screenshots” of his new project on search.

But a screenshot that Wales briefly showed us looked very much like a Facebook profile page, than a search page. In fact it looked pretty much identical to a Facebook profile page.

Could this mean Wales is developing a social networking, Facebook competitor too? Could it be some kind of search/social networking hybrid?

[UPDATE: Terrence Russell of Wired woke up Jimmy Wales in the early hours of the morning in Bangkok to respond to the speculation. More here.]

Described as “Google’s worst nightmare”, Wales said the main “failing” of search engines out there like Google was that they were secretive about the way they ranked search results. In stark contrast to the Open Source movement, these search engines kept information about their algorithms and code close to their chest.

“It’s not a healthy thing that power is in the hands of a couple of companies… the information needs to be out there in the public and people involved,” he told the gathering in Johannesburg.

His angle is to take on the Googles of this world by making his new search project a collaborative one much like that of Wikipedia.

It’s the third time Wales has been to South Africa this year to talk about his projects and work with local communities.

Wales’ new projects are being created by a new company, Wikia. The company has been the subject of quite a bit of hype and speculation in recent times. Wikia is a separate organisation to Wikipedia and aims to take the wiki concept to every other kind of work, book, or community projects that people might build. It also aims to extend the Wikipedia model beyond just nonprofit, educational and research communities.

The event that Wales’ spoke at in Johannesburg was part of the new iCommons “Innovation Series” at which I also had the privilege of speaking at just before Wales. The next Innovation Series will feature the COO of Second Life, Cory Ondrejka. Congratulations to Heather Ford and Kerryn Mckay from Creative Commons South Africa who pulled this awesome event off.

More pictures of the Jimmy Wales event on my Flickr account, here.

South African languages still small on Wikipedia
Wales said the biggest South African language, excluding English, was Afrikaans with only 8 000 entries. The other South African languages were small with a mere 107 entries in Zulu or 78 posts in Xhosa.

    Wikipedia facts & stats, 2007

  • Wales said that by the end of 2007 there were now more than 2-million Wikipedia articles in english now, but that this is less than 1/3 of the wikipedia content.
  • German and French are two big growing languages with more than 500,000 articles each.
  • Wikipedia spent around US$1-millon last year, and will spend about $2,3-million this year. Most of this comes from small donations and is a tiny amount of money if you think of the influence Wikipedia has on the world.
  • Wales says that according to Alexa, Wikipedia is now the 8th most popular website in the world.
  • Even in countries like Iran, Wikipedia is the 14th most popular site.
  • Despite Wikipedia being one of the world’s top ten biggest websites, it only has 10 fulltime positions, with most of the work done by volunteers all around the world.


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58 Responses to “Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales to create Facebook competitor?”
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  6. […] Afrikaans op WikiPedia 25Jan08 Ek lees op Matthew Buckland se web dat Jimmy Wales, stiger van WikiPedia, in SA gepraat het oor sy nuwe projek.  Wat my veral geintereseer het was die volgende aanhaling aan die einde: South African languages still small on Wikipedia […]

  7. […] La promesse fut pour WikiaSearch d’être lancé cette année et il semble que cela va se produire. Hier, Matthew Buckland relatait que Jimmy Wales montra quelques premières captures d’écran du nouveau projet. Cette image a été saisie par Nic Haralambous. […]

  8. […] The Vinny and Matt show continues This year Matthew Buckland and I fought over blogebrity and, I must admit, Matt out-did me when he broke the Jimmy Wales story and was linked to by TechCrunch and Mashable. You can see his spike clearly. On the whole I won though HA HA. […]

  9. […] Jimmy Wales in South Africa Wikipedia boss, Jimmy Wales, who has now visited this country three times in under a year to do interviews and speak at events revealed details of his new search project, which looked more like a Facebook profile than anything else. His revelation in this country led to worldwide speculation about what exactly he was up to. He was brought into the country by Heather Ford under the auspices of iCommons. […]

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  12. […] Wales, who has been described as “Google’s worst nightmare” said that these were some of the “first screenshots” of his new project, shown at a gathering of geeks in South Africa, Johannesburg. The initial story first broken on this blog about Wales’ revelations and Nic Haralambolous’s subsequent screenshots caused a major international blogging fest, with Techcrunch, Mashable, Wired and Techmeme all picking up on the story. […]

  13. […] A couple of weeks ago Nic and Matt posted pics and commentary about the world first public screenshots of the Wikia Search project (also picked up by Mashable and TechCrunch) that were recently shown in Johannesburg. Well, now I see that iCommons has released the video of his whole talk (here). I’ve edited it down to a short clip just about the Search project: […]

  14. […] social+networking facebook Jimmy+Wales Filed under Wikipedia by admin Permalink • Print• Email […]

  15. […] South African blogger Matthew Buckland raises a third option that we hadn’t considered. It could look a lot like Facebook. […]

  16. […] Как отмечают наблюдатели, побывавшие на выступлении Джимми Уэльса в Йоханнесбурге, ЮАР, некоторые скриншоты нового проекта практически идентичны пользовательским профайлам социальной сети Facebook. Можно предположить, что Уэльс готовит некий гибрид социальной сети и каталога сайтов, отобранных ее членами вручную. По такому же принципу действует поисковик Mahalo.com, основанный блоггером и веб-предпринимателем Джейсоном Калаканисом. […]

  17. […] Matthew Buckland, who covered Wales’ announcement, at what he called a “gathering of 100 of some of South Africa’s top geeks,” said the early screenshots looked much like Facebook pages. That coincidence led Buckland to wonder if Wales was planning a social network that might rival Facebook. […]

  18. […] Αυτό το post Matthew Buckland δίνει το έναυσμα σε μια ενδιαφέρουσα συζήτηση  σχετικά με το αν η wikipedia σχεδιάζει να ανταγωνιστεί το facebook.  Η αφορμή δόθηκε από την παρουσίαση  του παραπάνω  screenshot που απεικονίζει μια demo wiki search engine με interface που μοιάζει με του facebook. […]

  19. […] – Veropedia : Un Wikipedia en mieux, preuve qu’il fallait un mieux ?- Android, la lancement du SDK et le challenge lancé par Google- Laurent Gloagen, d’embruns relance le débat sur les liens sponsorisés- Ziki fête les 1 an de sa version française et change de peau avec sa nouvelle interface- Le Wikia à venir, moteur de recherche ou plate-forme communautaire ?- Le top 10 des langages sur Internet et des stats d’usage sur l’Internet mondial- Ravana lance sa Web TV “Geekement Correct” et relai notre appel à rédacteur(ice) de talent- J’ai été interviewé par 20min pour Ziki, et dans la foulée par NRJ et Le Monde – Stéphane Thomas nous fait un retour sur ses revenus publicitaires avec text-link-ads- Le programme de la conférence leWeb3 filmé par Thierry Bezier de Intruders.tv- Frédéric Cozic fête le premier mois d’existence de son tout nouveau blog webilus (le web en images) […]

  20. […] La imagen es un perfil de usuario en Wikia, que por sus similitudes con Facebook ha desatado la discusión de si en realidad el proyecto se trata de un buscador, que pretende ingresar al saturado mercado de los motores de búsqueda, o una competencia directa para las redes sociales; o incluso ambos al mismo tiempo. Hasta se está hablando de una posible “Socialpedia”. […]

  21. […] Jimmy Wales, the founder of the ultra-popular Wikipedia, was at a conference in South Africa, and talking about his new company, Wikia, something got revealed. They are working on some sort of search engine, but buried in his slides was what appeared to be a Facebook profile at fist blush. Mr. Wales is now being cagey about what that was, but the rumor is that Wikipedia may turn in to some sort of social network. Course every one is calling this a “Facebook killer”, but what can you do? […]

  22. […] Wired blogger Terrence Russell woke up Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales at 2am in the morning in Bangkok to ask him a few questions on speculation surrounding his new Wikia project, broken on this blog, that he talked about at a gathering of Geeks in South Africa on Tuesday. At the talk, the Wikipedia boss talked more about his much-hyped search project and then revealed a number of screenshots including what looked more like a Facebook profile-page than a search engine — which has caused many to speculate what exactly Wales may be up to. […]

  23. […] read the full articles here : TechCrunch MatthewBuckland this is a picture of what the tentative site would look like – it does bare a striking resemblance to a profile page on facebook: […]

  24. […] Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales starting a social network? — A screenshot of the supposed social search engine that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is developing “looked pretty much identical to a Facebook profile page,” says Matthew Buckland. The new project is supposed to be a direct competitor to Google, but suddenly it looks like Wales might be working on something a little different. We don’t think Wales is really building a Facebook competitor, but the project may turn out to be a little closer to Mahalo, which we today reported has raised $20 million more, than Google. […]

  25. […] matthewbuckland.com – Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales to create Facebook competitor? “Could it be some kind of search/social networking hybrid?” (tags: wiki JimmyWales facebook google search socialnetworking opensource) […]

  26. […] So Jimmy Wales — founder of Wikipedia and the for-profit spinoff Wikia — has shown some screenshots of what his “social search” site might look like, which come to us courtesy of Matthew Buckland’s blog in South Africa (always happy to welcome another Matthew to the blogosphere). And guess what? They look an awful lot like Facebook. There’s a photo and a “status” section, and a link to photo galleries, plus some miscellaneous tabs and something that looks a little like the Facebook “wall.” […]

  27. […] Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales to create Facebook competitor? — MatthewBuckland.com At a gathering of about 100 of some of South Africa’s top geeks on Tuesday night, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales revealed what he said were some of the “first screenshots” of his new project on search. […]

  28. […] They are linking to a post that speculated about and broke the news that Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales may be looking at some kind of Facebook rival. It was based on a talk Wales gave to about 100 top local geeks at a Johannesburg iCommons event, at which I also had the privilege of speaking at, just before the Jimmy himself. […]

  29. […] Matthew Buckland broke the first screen shot of Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales’ new venture into the social networking arena, Wikia Search. The screenshot, a user profile page, was taken at a conference of about 100 in South Africa. Wikia Search is being developed under Wales’ umbrella for-profit company, Wikia. According to Buckland: “Wikia is a separate organisation to Wikipedia and aims to take the wiki concept to every other kind of work, book, or community projects that people might build. It also aims to extend the Wikipedia model beyond just nonprofit, educational and research communities.” […]

  30. […] Congrats to Matthew Buckland for breaking the story of Wikia Search and Nic for taking the photo of the screenshots Jimmy Wales showed at the Innovation Series a few days ago. Their blogs have been linked by TechCrunch and Mashable, so I’m sure their servers are grinding right now. […]

  31. […] For Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales (pictured right) the cardinal sin of search companies is secrecy. So, it wasn’t too surprising that Wales let a few screenshots slip of his new search project during a recent keynote in South Africa. Tech blogger Matthew Buckland was on site during Wales’ session, and described the new project as a "search/social networking hybrid" setup on a Facebook-like interface. Ultimately, this raises the question — who is Wales gunning for, Google or Facebook? […]

  32. […] But the promise has been for Wikia Search to launch this year, and it appears to be on track. Yesterday Matthew Buckland reported that Wales showed “some of the first screen shots” of the new project (the first, as far as I know). […]

  33. […] Facebook clone, Wikipedia style I came across an article this morning on Jimmy Wales, and an announcement he made to a room of 100 of South Africa’s top IT personnel. It seems as though Jimmy Wales plans on expanding his Wiki style projects under a company named Wikia. The plan is to take the Wiki concepts to other types of websites, and communities as well as expanding outside of the not-for-profit sector. On the left is a screenshot of his project and on the right is a screenshot of a Facebook profile. […]

  34. Your on the front of Mashable and Techmeme – your rock !!

  35. Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales to create Facebook competitor?…

    At a gathering of about 100 of some of South Africa’s top geeks on Tuesday night, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales revealed what he said were some of the “first screenshots” of his new project on search….

  36. […] The good people over at mashable have an interesting article about wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launching a new people-powered, social search engine. Matthew Buckland has a bit more on the presentation on his page, but there are a few more interesting things to examine.While people already speculate on the intentions of a wikipedia + social network + search hybrid it would be useful to examine some of the benefits such a model would bring to its composing parts and its disruptive potential. First of all, it should be stated that wikipedia is already a ’socialized’ website. Just the fact that users don’t get a profile, the ability to link to friends and all the pretty stuff other social networks add, doesn’t mean it’s not a social website. It’s pretty much the biggest collaborative effort I know of at this momment, just not a social networking site. At the time of this writing it numbers 2 076 000+ articles according to its homepage. Given that some articles are more informative then others and a lot of them are basically nearly templates, waiting to be filled in with the missing pieces, i will give a rough estimate of 1 out of 20 articles being useful and usable (stay with me on this one). That means that there’s roughly 105,000 articles that fit these criteria.That means that for my conditions of usability I can expect about 105,000 search terms from wikipedia already. To clarify these conditions for me:An article to be usable has to : […]

  37. […] …was aus meiner Sicht kaum verwunderlich wäre, denn letzten Endes würde das nichts anderes bedeuten, als das über die konsequente Weiterentwicklung im web 2.0 Sinne nachgedacht wird. Wales wird von Matthew Buckland, der bei der Präsentation anwesend war, hier unter Anderem mit den Worten “It’s not a healthy thing that power is in the hands of a couple of companies… the information needs to be out there in the public and people involved,” zitiert. […]

  38. o_0 That headline’s like Web 2.0 buzzword bingo. Yes. We’re also planning an operating system, a phone, a video site, and
    an office software package:

    * Includes “search for nuance”, “convert to euphemism” and “neutrality checker” functions

    * Comes with five interfaces, though a lot of odd little stuff only
    works in the main one

    * Spends a month each year with Wikipe-tan popping up in the corner and asking the user for donations

    Total world domination is all that’s left.

  39. […] Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales to create Facebook competitor?  —  At a gathering of about 100 of some of South Africa’s top geeks on Tuesday night, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales revealed what he said were some of the “first screenshots” of his new project on search. Source:   matthewbuckland.com Author:   Matt Link:   http://www.matthewbuckland.com/?p=359 […]

  40. […] Matt has a great couple of posts that were picked up by Mashable! Good on you Matt! Make it Viral!!These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  41. […] Noticed that Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins of Mashable, ranked the 7th biggest blog in the world by Technorati picked up on my Jimmy Wales post, which is cool! Mashable reckons Wales may be gunning for a “Socialpedia” of sorts (Wikipedia + Profiles = Socialpedia). Hope my servers handle 😛 […]

  42. […] Matthew Buckland was at a gathering of “about 100 of some of South Africa’s top geeks Tuesday night” with Wikipedia man Jimmy Wales, where Buckland says that he saw things in Wales’ presentation that clued towards a socialpedia of sorts. […]

  43. There’s technology in Africa?? WHAT?!? Please, the land of apartheid should give it up. Everyone knows technology only succeeds in the Valley.

  44. […] Matthew Buckland out of South Africa has an interesting recap of a presentation by Jimmy Wales last evening. In his recap, Matthew wonders if Wales is planning a competitor to Facebook based on the slides that were shown. The slides were supposed to be about a new search product but Buckland saw it another way. He notes, "the screenshot that Wales briefly showed the audience looked very much like a Facebook profile page, than a search page. In fact it looked pretty much identical to a Facebook profile page. Could this mean Wales is developing a social networking, Facebook competitor too? Could it be some kind of search/social networking hybrid?" […]

  45. […] Matthew Buckland out of South Africa has an interesting recap of a presentation by Jimmy Wales last evening. In his recap, Matthew wonders if Wales is planning a competitor to Facebook based on the slides that were shown. The slides were supposed to be about a new search product but Buckland saw it another way. He notes, "the screenshot that Wales briefly showed the audience looked very much like a Facebook profile page, than a search page. In fact it looked pretty much identical to a Facebook profile page. Could this mean Wales is developing a social networking, Facebook competitor too? Could it be some kind of search/social networking hybrid?" […]

  46. I wish I was there. Thanks for this post Matthew, it gives us some insight. I’m actually started a community project on Wikipedia. I’ll share some more on my blog shortly.

  47. […] Matthew Buckland: Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales to create Facebook competitor? [cool pics] […]

  48. Great post Matt.

  49. […] Cedric wrote an interesting post today on […]

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