Search is currently used as a Web Application. Imagine Search being a component of a wide variety of applications. The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, plans to make that happen with Wikia.
Wikia is an open source search engine that plans to release both the source code and search data to the public.
“We have open-source software and cheap commodity computers in an open, neutral setting so that people can innovate very cheaply,” he says, adding that this allows people to experiment and perhaps make search a ubiquitous infrastructure component. Wales anticipates that many organizations will build their own search engine services thanks to the software’s availability on an open platform, and he says the trick to persuading people to use Wikia Search is delivering quality and a search experience that is at least as good if not better than their preferred search engine.
Almost every web site needs some kind of search engine and so do organizations. Imagine an open search API (currently you can use Lucene) broadly available for use. Imagine the ability to build your own ranking algorithm where the relevance factors are more in tune with your requirements.
You can do all these with a set of open source components from Apache. But an effort like Wikia is likely to accelerate the effort somewhat. Wikia may take a while to take off. But here in lies the opportunity for a wide variety of new products and innovations in search.
via ACM Technews: Wikipedia Co-Founder Tries Similar Idea In Search