Jimmy Wales Stops Wikia Search--MS Encarta also Closed

Apr 01, 2009

Two very different projects have closed this week: Microsoft's commercial Encarta, and after just 14 months, the free search engine Wikia Search.

Encarta has been around since the '90's and has since been available on CD and DVD. Some articles have been integrated into MSN Search. The project has around 50.000 entries with updates over the Internet and other more traditional media. A subscription version was also available. From June, according to a Microsoft statement, sales of the media will stop and subscriptions refunded. World-wide closure of the website will take place in October, except for Japan, which will hang on until December 31. Competition projects like Pediatric killed Encarta, even if Microsoft does try to cloud the issue by claiming that people's search habits have changed.

Another project from Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, has not been as successful as Wikipedia itself. After a short life, Wikia Search will also be discontinued. The reason, according to Wales, is although growth of the user-controlled search engine has been impressive, it's still well behind his expectations. He blames the current financial crisis.
"In a different economy, we would continue to fund Wikia Search indefinitely. It's something I care about deeply. I will return to again and again in my career to search, either as an investor, a contributor, a donor, or a cheerleader" writes Wales on his website. Until then, he'll be devoting his time to other Wiki.com projects such as Wikianswers.

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