SAN MATEO, California: Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is under no illusion he's boy David challenging Goliath Google. Nonetheless he claims that Wikia Search, his new web foraging tool, launched today January 7, will change the way people search the internet, whichever engine they use.

More than a year in the planning, the new venture is backed to the tune of $14 million (€9.47m; £7.08m) by, plus additional funds from venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners and a cornucopia of 'angel investors'.

The prime distinguisher between Wikia Search and the current crop of Google-dominated search engines is that the newcomer integrates human input with computer algorithms.

But of even greater significance: Wikia will publish the code supporting the search tool, a move that underscores the growing trend in technology - even within Google - toward open source software.

Says Wales: "It's a political statement as much as anything else. I think that we should be concerned about secret … proprietary software, a small amount of companies controlling a huge amount of flow."

"[Our goal is to] produce something of decent quality that will impact and push other players in the industry toward more openness.

But it's not all altruism. Unlike Wikipedia, Wikia Search will generate revenue by selling ads to appear alongside search results.

Data sourced from Business Week (online); additional content by WARC staff