The long wait for Wikia Search is over with the alpha version of the service now live.
As we wrote December 23, Wikia’s Jimmy Wales is pitching the search engine as a Google competitor; its a strong statement to make but does Wikia Search Alpha take the good fight up to Google? Not yet.
I ran a couple of different search terms into Wikia with mixed results. A search for TechCrunch for example shows TechCrunch.com as the first result, but type in Michael Arrington and the only TechCrunch result is at 7, and it’s TechCrunch France aside from something called a “mini-article”. I tried a couple of other people in Wikia Search as well, the service has no issues with finding sites/ companies by name, but really struggles when you’re searching for people.
The user interface is clean and uncluttered, but the choice of font colors has a lot to be desired.
Ultimately you can judge for yourself at alpha.search.wikia.com
Update: as pointed out in the comments, Wikia Search also doesn’t suggest results based on incorrect spellings, for example Wikiq doesn’t recommend Wikia, either in the results itself or with a “did you mean Wikia” line as Google would do.
Update 2: see Michael’s thoughts here.