Wired’s Epicenter blogger Terrence Russell woke up Jimmy Wales at 2am in the morning in Bangkok to ask him a few questions on the latest speculation, based on my blog post, about what the Wikipedia boss has been up to. On Tuesday night, Wales revealed a few more details about his new projects, under the banner of his new for-profit company Wikia, to a gathering of Geeks at a iCommons event in Johannesburg, South Africa. At the talk, Wales chatted to us about his much-hyped wiki-search project and then revealed a number of screenshots, which he said “were the first”, including what looked more like a Facebook profile-page than a search engine. It’s caused bloggers across the world to speculate what exactly Wales may be up to.
Naturally, in the short interview, the Jimmy seemed a bit cagey, but he didn’t outright deny anything…
Epicenter (Wired): So, what’s with the Facebookish layout?
Jimmy Wales: Well, you know, it’s just a familiar format for anyone that’s doing social stuff. That will probably change before launch.
E: Is this really supposed to be a Facebook/Google-killer?
JW: I have no idea, honestly. We’re just having fun right now. The main thing is we’re looking to see if we can create free open software that allows people to do better quality searches.
E: What would you say is the difference between Google’s penchant towards secrecy and your project?
JW: The basic concept is this: In the same way [Wikipedia] has an open public process for editorial control, we want to bring that same philosophy to the editorial process behind search.
…full interview on Wired’s Epicenter blog