Wikia Search Debuts App Platform to Sharpen Query Answers

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Wikia Search will roll out on Wednesday a platform that developers can use to create applications for this open-source search engine.

Called Wikia Intelligent Search Extensions (WISE), the platform is aimed at letting individuals and organizations create applications that sharpen the search engine's ability to answer queries.

"As we look at what's going on in search, we've realized there's a whole bunch of rules-based mechanisms you can use to map a search query to the exact correct result," said Wikia Inc. founder Jimmy Wales.

Already organizations including Thomson Reuters, The Washington Post, Digg and Twitter have created extensions to allow Wikia Search to provide more relevant results for specific queries.

Wikia Search already allows anyone to participate in building its index by manually adding, deleting and rating Web pages, as well as editing a search result URL by modifying its headline and description. Contributions are reflected immediately and don't go through an approval process.

With WISE, Wikia Search wants to automate this participation. "We'll get a whole new level of user-built search. Instead of having to individually edit one result at a time, which is useful in some contexts, here users can create applications for whole categories or whole rules of searches," Wales said.

The Washington Post's application, for example, delivers articles from the newspaper to Wikia Search results.

Also taking advantage of the WISE platform to create direct links between their site content and Wikia Search are weather information provider, job listings site and travel site

Wikia Search will provide documentation and a sandbox for building and testing the applications, which will be reviewed by the company before going live on the site.

With WISE, Wikia Search wants to increase the frequency with which it is able to answer a query right from the results page, saving users from having to scan Web site links and click around to find the desired information.

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