Jimmy Wales and Wikia Release Open Source Distributed Web Crawler Tool

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LookSmart provides search technology assets to enable distributed web crawling, others join growing list of organizations looking to make open source search a reality.

Wikia, Inc., the leading provider of community resources for building and organizing free content on every topic, today unveiled major next steps in its work to build a new search platform founded on open-source search protocols and human collaboration at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON). In a morning keynote address, Wikia co-founder Jimmy Wales discussed business models and his vision for building the LAMP stack for search, which can be done by assembling open-source technologies.

Wales announced that Wikia has acquired Grub, the original visionary distributed search project, from LookSmart (NASDAQ: LOOK) and released it under an open source license for the first time in four years. Grub operates under a model of users donating their personal computing resources towards a common goal, and is available today for download and testing at: http://www.grub.org/ .

“We’ve had a tremendous response from very interesting commercial players in the search space,” said Jimmy Wales, co-founder and chairman, Wikia, Inc. “The desire to collaborate and support a transparent and open platform for search is clearly deeply exciting to both open source and businesses. Look for other exciting announcements in the coming months as we collectively work to free the judgment of information from invisible rules inside an algorithmic black box.”

Grub, now open source, is designed with modularity so that developers can quickly and easily extend and add functionality, improving the quality and performance of the entire system. By combining Grub, which is building a massive, distributed user-contributed processing network, with the power of a wiki to form social consensus, the open source Search Wikia project has taken the next major step towards a future where search is open and transparent.

“In looking at the overarching industry, it has become clear that open is the business model of the future,” said Michael Grubb, Senior Vice President, Technology, and Chief Technology Officer, LookSmart. “We are pleased to collaborate with Wikia and believe that Grub will thrive under an open source license. We are happy to be able to assist in the movement to make search a more open proposition and look forward to seeing things progress from here.”

To keep up with the latest developments around open source search or to volunteer, please visit the community wiki at: http://search.wikia.com .

About Wikia, Inc.

Since Wikia’s launch in November 2004, more than 750,000 articles on 2,700 topics have been created and edited by over 200,000 registered users in 70 languages. In addition to working on open-source search, Wikia is currently home to several computer programming-related wikis such as, WikiaPerl at http://perl.wikia.com , the Visual Basic Wiki at http://vb.wikia.com , and the PHP Wiki at http://php.wikia.com .

Wikia enables groups to share information, news, stories, media and opinions that fall outside the scope of an encyclopedia. Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley launched Wikia in 2004 to provide community-based wikis inspired by the model of Wikipedia -- the free, open source encyclopedia founded by Jimmy Wales.

Wikia is committed to openness, inviting anyone to contribute web content. Authors retain their own copyrights and allow others to freely reuse their content under a variety of GNU and Creative Commons Licenses, allowing widespread distribution of knowledge and ideas.

About LookSmart, Ltd.

LookSmart (NASDAQ: LOOK) is an online advertising and technology company that provides relevant solutions for advertisers, publishers and consumers. LookSmart offers advertisers targeted, pay-per-click (PPC) search advertising and banners via its consumer Web properties and a monitored ad distribution network; a customizable set of private-label solutions for publishers; and vertical search sites and web tools for consumers. LookSmart is based in San Francisco, California. For more information, visit http://www.looksmart.com or call 415-348-7500.

Press Contact:

Trevor Jonas Bite Communications (for Wikia)

trevor.jonas @ bitepr.com



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